Slow It Down-How Mindful Eating Can Lead to Weight Loss

Turtle Small FeatureIn this post, we will discuss how eating slowly and mindfully is part of developing healthy eating behaviors.

By Anna Zilinskas, BS, DPP-GLB Lifestyle Coach and Linda Semler, MS, RD, LDN


When helping individuals make healthy lifestyle changes, it is important to focus on all areas that contribute to success. Information about what to eat as part of a healthy, low-calorie diet is typically addressed; but how to eat is also a key to successful weight management.

Slower Eating for Reduced Consumption

In a study that compared the impact of eating rates on satiation in women, it was found that eating slowly led to decreases in energy intake during meals. Additionally, those who ingested food at a slower rate had a lower perception of hunger and a greater sense of enjoyment in the taste, as well as a higher intake of water during the meals. While the evidence is limited and additional research is needed, this data suggests that eating slowly may help to maximize satiation and reduce consumption during meals. Another study that was conducted at Texas Christian University found that on average, those who slowed their eating by setting their utensils down between each bite consumed an average of 88 fewer calories than those who ate at a normal rate. This research also found that those who ate more slowly drank a larger amount of water, which could have an impact on calorie consumption as well.

Three Ways to Help Your Participants Embrace Mindful Eating

1. Count the number of chews per bite

In the “Almond Study”, almonds that were chewed 40 times were more fully absorbed and utilized by the body because the smaller particle sizes were more bioaccessible. Larger particles (10 to 25 chews) resulted in larger particles being expelled from the digestive tract undigested. Ask your group participants to try counting the number of bites and chews they take. In addition to having a biochemical advantage, this approach will allow the eating process to naturally slow down.

2. Put down the fork

By setting down utensils in between bites, the time it takes to finish a meal can be greatly increased. Encourage participants to experiment with this simple strategy to make meals last longer. They may find that eating more slowly can contribute to enjoying the taste of the food to a greater extent. Trying to make each meal last about 20 minutes can result in a new, healthy habit of eating slowly.

3. Split meals and snack more often

Reducing the size of meals and reassigning some of the foods as snacks throughout the day can allow for a greater focus on what is being ingested in the present moment. This can help participants to decrease their hunger throughout the day and reduce the risk of binging due to getting overly hungry.


Slowing down and practicing mindful eating are part of a process, which takes time and practice. However, the benefits are great. By helping your participants adapt to this healthy habit of eating slowly and mindfully, significant changes can be seen in overall eating habits, weight, and health!

Learn about these strategies and more at the upcoming DPP Group Lifestyle Balance Coach Training on November 3 & 4, 2015 (registration closes on October 1).  For information on registration, please click here.

Have you encouraged your patients and participants to practice mindful eating? Have you had any patients or participants struggle with this concept? What else can be done to help adopt this healthy habit?