Skinny Daily Post

Invincible.

Last week, my own personal WW guru challenged me to spend the month of June focusing on putting down my fork between bites. I have to confess that when she mentioned it, I thought it was a silly request. I mean, how hard could it be to put the fork down, and how could that possibly help me in the weight management journey?

Well. Turns out that this silly suggestion has been probably the most challenging thing Ive attempted over the past four years. Id put it up there with going to the gym daily, journalling my food and limiting portions. Who would have thought?

Almost every single meal over the past week, I have suddenly looked at an empty plate with a fork in my hand, having completely forgotten about my monthly challenge. The very few times I remembered to stop mid-meal, it felt so unnatural and weird to pause -however briefly– that I had difficulty keeping it up.

The other night I was out at an only-in-San-Francisco vegan restaurant (where all the dishes are called I am .. as in I am succulent I am perfect etc.). My friends and I were having a grand old time. Halfway through the meal, I remembered my fork. I stared at it reluctantly, and longingly. How could I possibly let go of it?

But when I turned to look at my naturally thin partner, I noticed that his fork was lying idly by his plate. This was also true for another slender friend of mine. They were busy chatting and laughing and enjoying the company. But for those of us at the table who have had weight issues, I noticed we were all white knuckling it, forks clenched firmly in hand.

Looks like June is going to be a real challenging month. But one way or another, Im going to learn something. So let me know if youve faced this one and if you have any tips. Im all ears. And fork.

19 thoughts on “Fork Lift

  1. Kery says:

    This is sooo true! I’ve had the same issues since I’ve been really serious about my weight loss efforts, and while I manage to do it regularly now, after 3-4 months of effort, there are still times when I just “forget” about it. It sure doesn’t come naturally… On the other hand, it’s been very useful in allowing me to not rush through my meals (a habit enforced by years of eating alone… which is not fun at all); I’ve also found it easier at the restaurant, for as you mentioned, there’s the whole chatting thing, idling out, being with friends, and I don’t feel like I need to get rid of the meal so that I can do something less boring. Now if only this was easier to do!

  2. jj says:

    Wow. That’s a really good one! A few years ago I noticed that if I eat a burrito or wrap or taco or something that I never put it down between bites. I bet that I’m the same way with my fork… now I’m going to have to pay some attention.

  3. Alexandra says:

    Just last week, I noticed my 5 year old daughter shovelling food the same way I do. So I’m learning alongside her to PUT THE FORK DOWN. And it’s really hard.

  4. Goddess Jessica says:

    Why if I enjoy eating so much that I want to get it over as quickly as possible? The other day I noticed while I was chewing that my fork was outside my lips, food skewed, waiting for the opportunity to shovel more in. I was appalled! I’ve been putting down my fork more and trying to remember that a sip of water between bites would be really grand. Savory the food, the company and experience of eating.

  5. lisa says:

    I caught onto this trick by accident, but so far it has worked for me. I will slowly eat about 50-70% of the food on my plate – fork in hand. When I reach that point, I put the fork down. And most of the time I don’t wind up picking it up again.
    It must be a mental imagery thing for me. I have that need to see a full plate, but I also need to see some food left after the meal. It seems like some kind of achievement, learning to break mom’s old ‘clean plate’ rule.
    I compost the leftovers (sans meat scraps for the dog), so it’s not really wasting food.
    I’m sure if I could remember to put my fork down more often, I’d have even better results. I’m also considering the ‘slow down with chopsticks’ suggestion – if I can find a nice pair.

  6. jane says:

    oh jonathan. you are so RIGHT. and so REAL. i’ve been noticing that those delicate little mouthfuls i used to take post-op have become ‘normal’ mouthfuls, with a full fork.

    i gotta do this. and not fill the fork up. maybe i’ll switch to a baby fork for a little while…

    thank you!

  7. loki says:

    Thanks for reminding me about this Jonathan, its a brilliant suggestion and its also something I’ve struggled with for a very long time. I’m from a wee little Asian country and we were brought up on rice. We as a nation, also tend to eat with our fingers. There’s something to be said about our traditional meals, it doesnt taste as good with cutlery 🙂

    I wonder if anybody has any specific suggestions on how to slow down eating when doing so without a fork? Or should I just try to be more ahem civilised and start using the cutlery?

  8. sjr says:

    Lisa’s comment about eating only half of what’s on the place — that’s my trick in restaurants. I divide the entree in half, sometimes in thirds, and then eat only half (or one third). Usually I am full by then. Take the rest home for lunch the next day, sometimes even lunch the day after that. Also, I try not to take another bite until everything in my mouth has been swallowed, so I can really know whether I’m still hungry or not.

  9. Trinka says:

    I find using chopsticks helpful also … it forces a person to slow down!

    Trinka

  10. JB says:

    Another good trick at restaurants, when eating with friends or family, is to look up. Look at their faces instead of the plate. That food isn’t going traveling. Watch their expressions, nod, wait for the next bite until they’ve finished their sentence. It’ll get you through your meal slower *and* earn you a reputation as a really good listener at the same time! 🙂

    JB

  11. Becky says:

    I have always been a “dedicated” eater, too. Part of my weight loss success has come from being more mindful; not just of my eating process, but also of my surroundings, including people. I try to observe the behaviors of naturally thin people doing various things and it has helped me a lot. I am married to one of those people and just challenging myself to finish my meal after he does has done wonders for me.

  12. Cindy says:

    I read this yesterday – but wanted to let you know it came back into my mind just now. I was eating and realized, because of this post, that while eating one bite I had shoveled in two more before finishing the first. I put the fork down, and guess what! I am full! I am not even hungry – yet I was shoving more food into my mouth. So just know that these posts do help. Keep up the good work.

  13. Ellen says:

    It is mind blowing how this habit is so hard to break. I have to think, think, think about it before I let go of that fork. One way to rid yourself of this habit is to view yourself eating in a mirror. Yikes, I did this and it wasn’t a pretty site. I looked like I was ready for a race, fork in hand, hunched over, ready, set, go. When you see how you look to other people, it makes you stop and think, and hopefully helps to slow us down.

  14. Diane says:

    I’ve been trying this. Sitting at the table, candle lit, I take a bite, put the fork down, chew and swallow. When there’s no more food in my mouth, I take a sip of beverage. Wait a moment, pick up the fork, take another bite, and so on. It took me half an hour to eat about a cup of cole slaw yesterday! It was a nice relaxing break, and it turned out to be a satisfying amount of food. The question now is how do I handle TV snacking? Any tips? Thanks for the tip about sipping between bites. Maybe this will become a habit. Just as I *learned* to wolf down my food, perhaps I can learn a new way to eat? ~~Blessings

  15. Diane says:

    I’ve been trying this. Sitting at the table, candle lit, I take a bite, put the fork down, chew and swallow. When there’s no more food in my mouth, I take a sip of beverage. Wait a moment, pick up the fork, take another bite, and so on. It took me half an hour to eat about a cup of cole slaw yesterday! It was a nice relaxing break, and it turned out to be a satisfying amount of food. The question now is how do I handle TV snacking? Any tips? Thanks for the tip about sipping between bites. Maybe this will become a habit. Just as I *learned* to wolf down my food, perhaps I can learn a new way to eat? ~~Blessings

  16. kirsty says:

    Ok, putting the fork down between bites is Ok for cold meals, but hot meals are going to get cold and unpleasant if you do this – maybe that’s how it works 🙂

  17. Stretchy says:

    Diane,

    in regards to TV snacking, you just might have to toughen up. TV seems to make eating “automatic” for most people. Some call it assembly line eating. You cannot snack if you walk in place during your favorite sitcom, or sit and bounce on a stability ball.
    and the bonus is 30 extra minutes of being active. You are forming a new habit, too! Pull out the mat and do floor work, come up with something that works for you.

    If you absolutely positively CANNOT LIVE without TV snacking, think healthy snacks like celery stix, air popped popcorn, a big salad, crudite platters, & lots of cups of green tea or water in between these carefully doled out snacks,
    HOWEVER….getting the TV snacking monkey OFF of your back is a real joy, a relief, and can make a major difference in your weight from month to month.
    Hope this helps you. Take care.
    Stretchy

  18. Cinzia Piat says:

    Hi
    I’m an italian woman, aged 50, and i weight 120 kilos, or more than 250 pounds. For me, it’s very interesting to read your letters, and it’s also very important to know that in the world other people have experienced problems like my own problem, and have achieved their goal. Now, I’m trying to find the courage to start a new SERIOUS diet to loose weight without surgery. But, you know, in Italy it’s not easy to resit all the food temptations… And I like also cooking.
    Thank you, because your letters help me a lot, and excuse me for my english…
    Cinzia from Rome, Italy

  19. sherri says:

    How to handle TV snacking?

    Simple: Turn the damn thing off!

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