Avoid feeling like Barf-alo Bill with these easy tips for slowing your food intake

On one hand, and I want to be totally clear on this, I do NOT endorse the baby-eating habits of Fat Bastard in the movie “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.” On the other hand, as a guy, when I get hungry I want the food in me ASAP. Like Dr. Evil’s kilt-wearing henchman, I talk to the (non-baby) grub as it nears my mouth. “Get in my belly,” I say in a fairly terrible Scottish accent (but a strangely passable Irish one).

That being said, since reading an all-too-familiar Don’t Change Much blog post — “To Barf or Not to Barf this Thanksgiving. That is the question” — I have started making more of an effort to chew my food properly and slow down my eating. I make sure my mouth is totally empty before I take another bite, and I try to have a sip of water between bites. This slows down the process and helps me enjoy the meal more.

Also, a Lazy Man’s Tip: Drink a tall glass of water 20 minutes before you eat — it’s like freakin’ magic when it comes to putting the brakes on your food intake.

Couple that with more water during dinner, and your wife might just finish before you do! (okay, she won’t, but she also won’t look at you with wide-eyed disgust as your lungs and diaphragm work to keep up with how fast the food is flying into your face.)

So here’s my take on the five reasons to eat more slowly listed in “To Barf or Not to Barf”:

#5 – You won’t have to be embarrassed about (and responsible for) ruining the next big family dinner

Let’s be honest here: There are lots of ways you could ruin a family get-together. For instance:

  • Making a speech about how much you love Emily when your wife’s name is Sarah.
  • Telling your misbehaving nephew that when he was born he had a twin, but they didn’t listen.
  • Announcing a fart is “just a turd honking to get out.”
  • Proving that a fart is just a turd honking to get out.
  • Deciding it’s a good time to play Cards Against Humanity so you can really get to know each other.

But I digress. By eating more slowly, at least failing to chew won’t be part of the debacle. And, I might add, if you’re riding the porcelain bus after every festive feast either you or the cook has a real problem. Note: if you’re both the cook AND the diner, you’re screwed.

#4 – You can start “potty training” your brain

The title here is one of the worst allusions to jettisoning the chunky cargo I’ve heard. The title makes my mouth water just thinking about it. Although I’m not known for providing my food with a round-trip meal ticket, I have adapted my eating style to limit how much goes in to begin with. Over the years, I have grown to detest that violently full feeling of years gone by. As I wrote in my first blog post, I do far more to avoid pain than to gain pleasure. We now use smaller plates at dinner and avoid large single servings. You can always go back for seconds, right? Start modest and see where you go from there.

#3 – You won’t be one of the sad stories rushing to the local emergency department

If any of you eat so much that it backs up in your throat, I’m pretty sure you’re also the kind of person who chews with your mouth open. There’s a special place in hell for you. Close your mouth when you chew. Don’t be that filthy animal your in-laws think you are. In closing, chew with your mouth shut, it’s safer, that’s just science. 

#2 – You are less likely to overeat

This might be one of the best tips to avoid feeling like Barf-alo Bill at the next big feast: Drink that tall glass of water before dinner and see how it can curb an appetite. Plus, you’re hydrating, which helps with everything from bad breath to peeing (I’ve always found it fun to pee).

#1 – It will help you see “it” again

Not to put a fine point on it, but to me it’s more important that my wife wants to see “it.” That being said, the closer I can get to the Adonis I once was, the sooner I’ll be fighting off the better half. I just hope she doesn’t chip a nail on all that I’ll become…

In case you missed it, Toby owes us 1,800 jumping jacks. Check out his first post where, he reveals a noble plan to make good on his promise.

Stay tuned for Toby’s next post and if you haven’t signed up to our Weekly Health Tips yet, do it today to follow him on his journey to better health.

About the Author

Toby Hargrave

Toby Hargrave is a B.C.-based film and TV actor, radio personality, and award-winning veteran of North America’s standup circuit. Described as a “happy Hagrid” owing to his resemblance to Harry Potter’s oversized pal, Toby often pokes fun at his “casual” approach to wellness. Behind the scenes, however, he wanted to live healthier, and that’s when his inspiring Don’t Change Much journey began.

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Phil Wiener
January 21, 2020

Insightful and funny

Eric Ransom
January 21, 2020

'Mindfulness' may be credited to ancient Buddhist and Japanese culture, but mindful eating was developed by an American food faddist named Horace Fletcher.

According to Wikipedia, Mr. Fletcher earned the nickname "The Great Masticator" for propounding the idea that food should be chewed thoroughly until liquefied before swallowing: "Nature will castigate those who don't masticate."