Not so Fast-Food

In the words of the great Ferris Bueller “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”  I equate this quote to my behavior at the dinner table at the risk of my husband associating this movie with things rapidly going into my mouth, I’m afraid he’d never be able to watch it with a straight face again.  Allow me to explain…

When I was a kid I sat across from my older brother at the dinner table.  I’m not sure why, but every meal was an unconscious race to see who ate the fastest.  Maybe it was the fact that my mom was such an awesome cook that you couldn’t help but keep shoveling it in.  Maybe it was the fact that my brother was like a garbage disposal and ate everything in sight and no one’s plate was safe.  The most likely reason is whoever finished eating first got to decide what TV show we would watch before we went to bed.  My friends would come over for dinner and while they were finishing their soup, my family was polishing off dessert. So in our house, to paraphrase Ferris “Food disappears pretty fast.  If you don’t get it while it’s hot, you could miss it.”

So short story long…I have always eaten very fast.

jail-161645_1280As I got older and was maturing into the classy goddess of etiquette I am today (hah!) I still hovered over my food and wolfed it down like I was in a prison cafeteria and some bitch was eyeing my tray.  As some of you may unfortunately know, the problem with eating so fast is that your brain can’t catch up and let you know you’re full, so you eat too much and then you pay the price.  I was always thin so gaining weight was never my issue, but this was still a problem because I ended getting so stuffed and bloated after most dinners that I ended up praying to the merciful porcelain goddess and bringing my meal back up.  While this was good practice for college with my double majors of drinking and more drinking, it was not so good that my friends were constantly going to my mom trying to stage an eating disorder intervention.  Ahhhh, good times.

So here I am, all grown up…having recently turned 29 (for the 15th time) and I wish I could say my eating has slowed down but these days I only lie about my age.  Having long since abandoned my porcelain prayers, now I would just lie down after a big meal, feel like crap and wish that someone would just roll me back into the water like a beached whale.  A few months ago my BFF since I was 9 years old (who also just turned 29…again) came for a lunch visit, she was still finishing her salad as I sat and watched because I had already finished my meal ten minutes before.  “El, if I hear one gag noise coming from the bathroom tonight I’m calling your mom about that damn intervention”.  So rather than end up on an episode of an A&E reality show I’ve decided to finally change my ways.


I read a gazillion articles about fast eaters and tried all the slow-down fads.  I’ve tried eating with my left hand (I dropped most of my food in my lap and my friends started calling me Michael J. Fox).  I tried putting my fork down between each bite but that annoyed the hell out of me, and my kids started making robot noises every time I moved my arms.  I even tried chewing each bite of food 20 times.  That ended up being the gold-standard of ridiculousness and between all the drooling and the pile of mush I ended up swallowing I would need to invest in a lifetime supply of bibs.  I was afraid the hubby was going to give me an adult size bib with some stupid saying on it like “If you think I’m cute, you should see my husband” or “by the time you finish reading this I’ve just crapped myself” or my personal favorite “when you hear me fart, it means I love you”.

So now I’ve gone back to basics and ditched the quick fix approach.  My family has instituted our new practice of “mindful eating”.  I’m teaching myself and my family to embrace a more relaxed, “in the moment” type of eating.  Sharing a meal with my friends and family should be about the journey and not the destination.  I continually strive to adopt this way of thinking to all aspects of my life…except for sex.  “Just hurry up and finish already, this mask is really uncomfortable and the windshield wiper is poking me in the back.”



A fun trick that we came up with to help us on our mindful eating journey is replacing our utensils with chopsticks.  It’s slowing me down tremendously and I guess I make it look like fun because my kids are doing it too.  Now, before you ask, yes we still use spoons for soup and ice cream.  I’m committed to making this work, but there’s only so much laundry I can do in a week.


So these days my eating habits are less “The Amazing Race” and instead more “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, although my perverted lifetime roommate (let’s call him hubby) is still partial to “Twin Peaks” or “60 Minutes”.  My family knows to only eat until they are 80% full and no one gets read the riot act if there is food still left on their plate.  Oh I still have been known to visit the porcelain altar from time to time, but that probably has something to do with surpassing 80% full with my organic wine.


So, what have we learned today?

  • Eating should not be a race
  • They make bibs for adults
  • Even at 29 it’s not too late to change your ways
  • My family mercilessly (but lovingly) enjoy teasing me
  • You can get valuable life lessons from Ferris Bueller


Hopefully I’ve made you think, made you laugh and even taught you a thing or two.  I’ll leave you with my favorite geology-based quote from Ferris Bueller that I find timely right around Earth Day.


“Pardon my French, but Cameron is so tight if you stuck a lump of coal up his ass, in two weeks you’d have a diamond.”


…Bon Appetit





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