The Fork Method: 3 Ways to Eat Slower to Live Longer

We all know we are what we eat. But did you know you are how you eat, too? The way in which you spend your mealtimes can greatly influence your well-being. The irony is, the more slowly you enjoy your meal, the more time you can add to your calendar in the long run.

You may ask yourself what eating slowly has to do with saving time. It actually takes the brain 20 minutes to recognize it is full. By eating mindfully, you are more likely to eat less than if you were to gobble your food quickly. Eating slowly aids in the digestion process, making you less sluggish and leading to a decreased need to grab yet another cup of coffee in the afternoon.

3 steps to help you eat slower

All told, we spend a little over one hour enjoying our food each day. Speed has entered the dining room if we happen to eat there at all. If you belong to the clean-your-plate-fast club, consider trying the following exercise the next time you sit down for a meal:

  1. Clock yourself while you eat. Be sure not to engage in any other activity such as reading or watching television. Chances are you will have finished your meal in under a quarter-hour.
  2. For your next meal, try this approach: After each bite, place your fork back on the plate. Most of us have gotten used to eating convenience foods that rarely require utensils, but for the Fork Method, it is best to use a fork with your meal to signal the space between bites. By placing your utensil back on the plate after every single bite, you will be forced to slow down automatically.
  3. Chew your food thoroughly, then pick the fork back up for the next bite. Chewing is important as it releases essential enzymes to break down the food into digestible bites. The better you chew, the better your system can process the food you’ve ingested. 

Using the Fork Method, you will extend your meal by several minutes. Clock yourself again to see how much you have slowed down.

Changing your eating habits even slightly will result in overall improvement in your well-being, which will ultimately save your time and possibly heartburn, too.


From The Power of Slow by Christine Louise Hohlbaum. Copyright © 2009 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press, LLC.

Check out another excerpt from The Power of Slow on Gaiam Life: 1-Minute Breathing Exercise for Energy and Productivity.

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