Imagine you’re sitting at the dinner table, diving face-first into a huge bowl of pasta. While forking down your meal, you’re hardly even enjoying those glorious, buttery carbs. You’re just devouring mouthful after mouthful, shoving food into your maw mindlessly. Suddenly…
Your fork buzzes. And you’re reminded to stop eating.
That’s the idea behind HAPIfork — the first ever food-policing fork. The gadget buzzes when you’re taking bites too fast and coaches you on how to eat more slowly. Every ten seconds, the default setting of the fork expects that you take just one bite. Move a bit quicker and you receive a poignant reminder.
HAPIfork keeps track of your consumption habits — tracking the intervals between bites, how long it took for you to finish your meal, and the number of bites you typically take per minute. It sends all of this info to an app, which then uses the data to provide a coaching program to slow you down.
It’s kind of like electric collar training for dogs — only instead of jolting your body with painful electricity, it forcefully reminds you to watch what you eat with a gentle buzz.
The company points out a few potential benefits of the product — weight loss, for instance. Although, as a New York Daily News reporter pointed out when testing the product, “there’s nothing to stop you from, say, slowly putting away an entire cake.”
HAPI also notes that eating too quickly can result in digestion problems, which is true. When you don’t chew your food properly, it’s more difficult to digest.
But you don’t need a special fork to discipline you to practice mindful eating. We consulted Lisa Hayim MS, RD, expert on mindful eating, for some tips that might work.
“Start thinking about where your food came from,” she advised. “When we realize that our food has a story and journey before it arrives to us, we cultivate appreciation and gratitude which slows us down.”
She also recommended choosing one meal a day to stop multitasking. “I know you’re busy, we are all busy,” Hayim said. “But choosing one meal to just eat is a simple tool to begin getting your mind and body to connect.”
Meditating before eating and putting your food on your own plate instead of eating from a plastic container could also help to promote mindfulness.
“When we go into a meal feeling calm, we can pay attention to changes in taste, texture, and even enjoyment!” she explained. “And having your own plate (of a standard size) can help you recognize your normal amount of food. They key here is to remain non-judgmental on days and meals when you need more or less food.”
So you may not need a special Bluetooth fork to slow down. For some healthy inspiration that’s completely free, try following one of these nutritionists on social media — their tips could be just the advice you need.