Are You Like This Woman on the Bus?

Recently, I was riding the bus when a passenger sitting near the front caught my eye. I was transfixed by how fast she was eating from a takeout container. I’ve seriously never seen anyone inhale food so rapidly, not even at a hot dog eating contest.

All the sudden, she started having a coughing fit. As I realized she was choking, her eyes rolled back into her head and she passed out on the floor! A guy near me ran to help her as I reached for my phone to call 911. Thankfully, she came to within a few seconds, was able to clear the obstruction, and the bus went on its way.

Your Body is Always Talking to You
While this is an extreme example of the possible consequences of fast eating, it serves as a good reminder that your body will always try to tell you when something you're doing isn’t working for it. Sometimes, as in this woman’s case, it will need to yell to get your attention. Her choking was a desperate scream from her body that it could not handle her rapid-fire eating.

Signs You’re Eating Too Fast
Whenever I bite my lip or tongue while eating, I know it’s a sign that I’m eating too fast. Here are some other red flags—some subtler than others—that signal you may be chowing down too quickly.

  • Burping
  • Flatulence
  • Heartburn
  • Regurgitating food
  • Bloated belly
  • Stomach pain  
  • Sensation of a “brick” in your belly
  • Overeating
  • Very little memory of actually eating your meal
  • Desire to eat again shortly after your meal
  • Food cravings
  • Lack of pleasure or satisfaction from your meal
  • Undigested food particles in your stool
  • Sluggishness
  • Lethargy
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

Of course, other things can cause these conditions as well. However, if you are experiencing any of them, I encourage you to experiment with eating slower, including thoroughly chewing each bite, to see what impact it has. 

Slowing down does require dedicating more time for your meals, ditching distractions, and committing to changing the way you’ve probably been eating for decades. In the beginning, it also requires a hearty dose of patience until it becomes second nature. If you persevere, I promise you, the results will be worth it.