How to Eat More Slowly and Mindfully

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Editor’s note: Updated in 2018 for clarity and additional resources.

I’m a pretty fast-paced lady. I do everything fast: I talk fast, work fast and move fast.

This speedy energy has served me very well in many areas of my life, but not at the dinner table. All my life I’ve been a fast eater. This negative pattern has been self-destructive in two ways: I never really taste or savor my food, and I feel anxious around mealtime.

As always, I’ve chosen to teach what I need to learn. In this video I offer three steps to eat more slowly and mindfully.

My eating habits offer me an ongoing learning opportunity to tune in, relax and enjoy the moment. Watch now for my tips on how to eat more slowly and mindfully:

Tip #1: Invite spirit into your meal

To eat more slowly and mindfully, invite spirit into your meal. You can do this through a prayer or by setting an intention. Just say, “Thank you, spirit, for eating with me.”

By inviting this invisible force into your presence, you allow it to calm you. Doing this helps you step out of who you think you are, this fast-paced person, and allows an energy greater than you to move through. Eating is a quite sacred and fundamental act. By inviting spirit to eat with you, you’re never alone.

Tip #2: Eat with chopsticks!

If you want to eat more slowly, eat with a utensil you’re not used to using. For me, that would be chopsticks. For someone who grew up eating chopsticks, it might be a fork. Now, this isn’t something you need to do forever. But while you’re working on changing your habit and eating more slowly, try this tip. It helps you to slow down and become more aware. Plus it’s fun!

Tip #3: Focus on the conversation

If you’re eating with others, start to talk more. I find that if I talk more while I’m at a meal, I’ll eat more slowly. Make sure you’re not talking while you’re eating, because that’s typically what I will do! I’ll chomp while I’m speaking. Instead, take small breaks from eating to savor the conversation and experience of your meal. When we eat with others, it’s about more than food. It’s a time to catch up, to share, to bond. Be present. Set down your utensil and talk.

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  1. hi there! I’ve got this problem too! these are the reasons why:

    1. I’m afraid of my food getting too cold! Pasta gets cold so fast, for example 😀
    2. My husband eats so fast, I look at him=eat the same way as he does. When I try to eat slow, he finishes his meal and starts stealing mine :DD Hate that!!! 😀
    3. Somewhere in my mind I’m always afraid of getting not enough, I guess. I’m afraid that I won’t get enough nutrition, vitamins and so on.

    what helps me:
    1. Actually, watching youtube or smth like that! I know everybody says it’s so so bad to watch TV or look at the Internet while eating, but it works for me! For example, I’m having breakfast now and decided to take a small pause and write this comment! In total my breakfast lasted even 10min today!!! Always- 1-3 min 😀

    2. I try to sit straight
    3. chew! Now learning to do this!
    4. yes, chopsticks are great idea!!!!

    Have a nice day,

  2. Hi Gabby,

    I noticed that if I have more than 9 hours of sleep, then I find myself not feeling that much hungry in the next day. It is interesting. Also, I just got the flu last Friday, and it causes me to have somewhat little bit of spiritual awakening because I am used to be “binge” eating. Everytime I ate too much foods, I’d feel so guilty then go outside and ride my bike for an hour than walk with dog for 1 hour. That wasn’t me at all. I used to be “mindful” eater when I only eat when I am hungry and stop when I am feeling 80% of full. Also, I don’t do the extreme exercising; but when I got the flu, I finally give my body an opportunity to get some rest and to reflect.

    So, today, I am recovering from the flu, and I noticed myself that I am not eating that much today. this morning, I’d have like 3 cookies at 8am, then later at 10am, I would have myself Starbucks java chip frapp light with banana and 4 tsbp alamsed and 1/2 scoop superfood green, then at 1pm, I have half of chocolate croissant, then at 3pm, I have one rum chocolate truffle and 1 bite of fudge. I am still full. It seems like less than 1000 calories today that I have. That is really unusual to me because I am usually hungier when eating so many carbs. But, I guess I will have to go with the flow and see what my body is doing. I have to surrend myself to the universe and let the universe guide me the way. I don’t even want to go back to “binge-exercise” cycle ever again and it is too tiring; and also, this really rob my life and my freedom.

    All I want for Christmas is to get my life back together.

  3. Have you ever thought about creating an e-book or guest authoring on other blogs? I have a blog based upon on the same subjects you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my viewers would appreciate your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an email.

  4. Hi Gabby, I like your tip of eating with chopsticks. Sometimes the practical tips are the ones most useful. I have just completed and am about to launch my own Digital Workshop called Weight Loss Transformation System; 7 Steps to End Emotional Eating- and one of my modules is about Mindful Eating. It includes a Pause before all snacks or meals which includes a body scan and emotional inventory. This prevents eating when we are not hungry and allows us to tune into our emotional state- so we can comfort ourselves more effectively and give ourselves what we really need (like a break from work or connection with a friend/spouse) instead of misusing food.

  5. Put your fork down while chewing. Only pick up the fork for another yummy bite after you have finished chewing and swallowed your food. HAPPY HEALTHY YUMMY EATING TO YOU ALL!

  6. Awesome video – I think first getting really clear why you want to eat slower and find the thing that emotionally resonates and to focus on that rather than just the mechanics of eating. There is a reason we inhale fuel, when you clear that resistance the strategy is no longer necessary. A way that really made a difference to me was to pick one thing on my plate and allow that to be the rock star of my meal. To really savor, chomp on and take time with. By only having to be slow on one item it cracked me open to enjoy all the other things in a more mindful way. I usually like to start this way, but sometimes I forget – so as soon as I remember (even if its the last bite) I just would get present with it. Now I eat a lot more slowly. hope it helps xoxo

  7. Hi Gabby! One tip that makes me eat more slowly is making conversation around the dinner table. My family of 4 sit at dinner every night together and it is a way to connect and catch up with all the happenings of the day. I find that when I take time to engage in conversation I am talking more than eating and then realize after that I am eating much slower. I am fast paced in all I do too, but I know that I have spent time preparing a wonderful meal and want to really enjoy and savor my efforts! 🙂
    Thanks for bringing up this topic, you as always shine a great light on the topic XO

  8. Hi Gabby,

    It’s so nice of you to ask us. I am a slow eater myself and I have a sister and a friend who gulp the food in. So what I noticed myself is that when you try to chew the food more you eat slow. Moreover when you eat slower you get a hang of the taste of the food. So you can try to savour the food and focus on how the food taste. I have learned that we need to eat with full attention.
    ** I normally prolong the taste experience of somethings that I love by keeping is in me mouth and chew slowly with my eyes closed. **

  9. I love this Gabby! Thank you for sharing your truth on this subject because you’re so right, eating is sacred. What we put into our bodies is what we become. This is not just in regards to the physical nourishment but also the intention with which we consume it. The energy and emotions we hold.

    I personally have struggled with a weight issue my whole life and the best thing I learned was to stop and assess my emotions and feelings before I put anything in my mouth. Usually emotional eating is unconscious so taking that second to check in and see, am I feeling anxious and stressed? Am I eating to fill a void? Am I lonely? And then, the most important part: to re-calibrate to the intention of ingesting love and light into my body with gratitude as I take each bite. You feel the difference ? ?

  10. Wolfing down food has always been a problem for me. I often have to say to myself (sometimes out loud) “no one will take this food from me. There is enough for me. I can eat slowly without anxiety or fear.” This helps me tremendously.

  11. Yes! I really believe it’s our birthright to taste delicious food and not suffer over it- but in reality we tend to plow through our food and feel guilty over it. I suggest really trying to “describe” your meal to yourself- not just flavor, but color, texture, sound when you bite it, etc.
    Mindful eating has changed my life and the lives of so many of my friends and clients- I’m so glad you’re sharing this important skill with your wide audience.

  12. Hello Gabby!
    I hear ya on the fast paced eating!
    I even feel the need to add-on and feel a sense of “not enough”.
    I don’t know if this has been mentioned, but posting a sign or sheet of paper with an affirmation that is around your eating area has been a help. You are the queen of affirmations and I have actually taken some from you— I.e.

    & SA TA NA MA baby !

    xoxo Best Wishes

  13. Being thankful for the meal before enjoying it, observing the beautiful colors, textures & flavors in each bite. Savoring it while also being thankful for the nourishment it is giving your body.

  14. Sat Nam Gorgeous Gabby
    I have always been a slow eater, painfully slow for my parents as a kid 🙂 but living with my husband who is like a vaccum when he eats I started to eat faster, seriously – because I felt like there would be nothing left on the table to eat if I did not pick up the pace 😉
    Then … And within is my tip, I started a little vege patch and was growing my own herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots etc. This is when my true appreciation for food came back, I soon realized what a miracle it is … Every little mouthful we have on our plate. How much the sun, the rain and TLC goes into growing organic produce. In this I remembered to savor the flavour! My tip is …. Even with no much space, a little window ledge for sun..Grow some herbs, a little pot of cherry tomatoes, baby cucumbers. Witness the miracle and with that maybe you will become more mindful.
    With love, Lara xxx

  15. What a great topic and a wonderful idea to use chopsticks!!

    I recently partook in a Vipassana meditation retreat where we were instructed to be mindful in many aspects of our daily lives, including eating. I started by labelling my actions while eating. For example. Pick up spoon … Tasting food … Placing spoon back in bowl etc. This routine only lasted a few weeks after the retreat and then I was back at it. Eating like speeding bullet!

    When I recently noticed that I was eating fast and less mindful I thought about new ways to become slower and more mindful and one that I maybe able to create into a habit. My latest attempt at a habit is as follows. Every time I take a bite, slurp or sip of something I put the fork, spoon or cup down. I place it down to look up at what is happening in front of me and witness the life around me while I chew, slurp or swallow. For example the place that I am currently couch surfing at has a few aquariums and funny enough I watch the fish watching me. I don’t pick back up the appropriate kitchen hardware until an mindful impulse tells me to. I respect the impulse so stop taking in that which is in front of me and go back to eating or drinking. I’m not sure if this will stick but it has been working for a week or so now.
    Love and Light

  16. Hi, Gabby and everyone! I recently took a Reiki class and the teacher told me that before she eats or while she cooks, she Reikies the food and start with one easy step; sit at the table. The food becomes much tastier. And just like you said Gabby, invite the spirits and ascended masters. This enables you to appreciate food and really take time and the food becomes really nutritious to your whole body and mind! 🙂 Sorry for my English mistakes, I am learning English and spirituality so that I can be inspiring someday like you Gabby! Thanks for your amazing work! Much love and light! Anzu xoxo

  17. Lovely topic and of course I can relate. I’m in long term recovery from overeating / underrating / starving / bulimia and incredibly grateful for that and as you I have to be devoted to healthy food behaviours on a daily basis.

    I always pray before eating, give thanks and gratitude to have the privilege to have a plate full of delicious food in front of me.
    I really look at my food and eat with love. Like I’m in love with every single veg on my plate. Have you seen how beautiful vegetables and fruit are? They are so endearing, a piece of art.
    I do the same during cooking. I put love into every meal.
    Chew properly (My mum always say to chew each bite about 30 times but to be honest, I don’t consciously do that)
    After the meal I pray again often using the serenity prayer.

    Léa x

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