The 20-Minute Meal

It’s Not a Diet

First, I wanted to say that I hope you had a wonderful 4th of July holiday! Today I’m going to talk to you about something I discovered through my health coaching certification training. It’s really a no-brainer, but I wanted to share it with you because I love it. It’s called the 20-minute meal.

All you need is a timer and a notebook while you eat. Let me explain…

So often we equate the word “diet” when we’re watching what we eat. I honestly can’t stand that word, unless it’s used as a noun about what we eat in general. When I hear “I’m on a diet” or “I have to go on a diet,” I equate that to deprivation. I’m taking something away. I can’t have something. It has a negative connotation, and it turns me off. Would you agree?

So, when I heard about this 20-minute meal, I had an “aha!” moment because it’s so easy to do.

Many times we focus on food as our enemy – something that I can’t have or have to stay away from. I prefer to think of food as your friend, and instead changing the behavior around your eating, not so much what you’re ingesting, so you can enjoy it.

How It Works

Now back to the 20-minute meal. All you need is a timer or clock, a pen, and paper or the Notes app on your phone.

Secondly, as far as food goes, you can eat anything you want during the 20-minute meal. The only caveat is if you have restrictions on what you can eat for medical reasons, then follow those, but in general you can have anything you want or would normally eat.

Here’s what you do. Set the timer when you sit down to have a meal. Write the time down, and begin eating. When you’re done, look at the clock and write the time down again. This is your baseline. Now you know how long it typically takes for you to eat a meal. If you’re like me, you gobble your food down! I used to eat slowly, but ever since having kids and constantly rushing around, I got used to eating quickly.

Here’s what you do next. When you have your next meal, I want you to add 5 minutes onto that baseline time. So if you took 3 minutes to eat the first one, I want you to add 5 minutes on, and now you have to eat for at least 8 minutes on your next one, and so on.

Here’s what happens when we gobble our food down and eat quickly without realizing what we’re doing. We either get up and feel like there’s a brick in our bellies, and/or we don’t know when we’re full because we’re eating so quickly. We tend to think we’re still hungry and want to eat more. It’s because our stomach hasn’t caught up with our fork.

So, I want you to add those 5 minutes on, then the next time, add 5 more minutes. Do that for at least a week or until you reach 20 minutes. As you keep doing this, I promise you’ll feel a change in your digestion and in your energy levels. And I believe, more than anything, you’ll feel satisfied, because you’ll be able to enjoy your meal bite by bite instead of gobbling it down.

Food Is Your Friend

This 20-minute meal will turn stress off and turn digestion on, so that you can have a relationship with your food as a friend not an enemy. It’s like a game, and it’s intended to make eating fun and enjoyable.

The challenge I have for you today is to take this 20-minute meal seriously for about a week. Time yourself each meal and continue to add 5 minutes onto your time, and pay attention to what your belly and energy levels feel like when you’re done. Compare and pay attention to if you have a feeling of satisfaction instead of deprivation.

It’s a learned behavior, but should be fairly easy. Let me know your results, and I hope you enjoy the 20-minute meal!


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