While I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, I decided to aim for two new habits this year based on two recent studies.

The first is to eat more slowly, cutting my food into smaller pieces, chewing and tasting every bite. In a study published last Monday, obesity researchers from Texas Christian University found that people tend to eat an average of 88 fewer calories and to enjoy their food more when they make an effort to eat without any time constraints: taking small bites, chewing thoroughly, pausing frequently, and putting their fork down between bites.

My second “do-better” item is to pick up my pace when I’m strolling outdoors with my husband or walking through the behemoth parking lot and aisles at my local Costco. A new analysis of the National Walkers’ Health Study involving nearly 40,000 recreational walkers found that those who walked the fastest pace had the smallest risk of dying from heart disease, diabetes, dementia, or any other cause over a decade, compared with those who walked the slowest.


The pace associated with the lowest death risk? Walking a mile in under 14 minutes — which is 4.3 miles per hour.