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The difference twenty minutes can make

Posted: Jan 17, 2013


I'm sure most of you would agree that twenty minutes is an insignificant amount of time when framed over the course of twenty four hours.  Yet that's all it may take in order to make some significant changes in your life.

Here are three examples:

1.  Waking up twenty minutes earlier.  I often hear the excuse "I don't have time to make breakfast".  Of course you do!  It's just a matter of tweaking one's morning routine and it could be as simple as getting up earlier.  In twenty minutes you can make a lot of healthy, tasty meals such as a high-protein smoothie (add ice, fruit, yogurt and protein powder to a blender), steel cut oats (cooked in advance the night before) or eggs with toast and fruit.   The best part:  you'll feel less rushed and get in the most important meal of the day.

2.  Taking at least twenty minutes to eat.   It's true that it takes about twenty minutes to know if you're full.  So if you eat too quickly, you'll almost certainly eat more than you need.  If you're a fast eater, try the following as a way to slow down.

  • Divide your usual portion equally over two plates. 
  • Start with the first plate ensuring that you put your utensil down after each bite.  This may not be easy so keep trying!
  • When you finish, take a twenty minute break (washroom, read, talk with family). 
  • If you're still hungry after twenty minutes, start on the second plate again ensuring that you put the utensil down after each bite.
  • If you're full, save the second plate for leftovers.

3.  Incorporating twenty minutes of exercise into your day.  This won't help you lose weight but it will make you healthier.  Indeed, even small bouts of activity have health benefits.  So get up off the couch and go for a walk after dinner (or better yet - use that break between plates to get in some activity).

Mark McGill, RD