Remember to Practise Your 5Qs on Your Healthy Puzzle of Life Journey  by Dr Gary ‘Koala’ Leong

Remember to Practice Your 5Qs on Your Healthy Puzzle of Life Journey 

By Dr Gary ‘Koala’ Leong
Paediatrician, Endocrinologist and Family Health Consultant

Last month, I talked about practising the 5Qs. This month, I’d like to focus on the third Q, which centres on one of the most important keys to achieving healthier eating and maintaining a healthy weight—that of practising mindfulness and mindful slow eating.

Q4 QUICK—how fast are you eating? Try to eat slowly and mindfully with as many chews as you can of the food in your mouth. As a family, sit together around the dinner table and aim to finish main meals using the 20-minute rule.

Mindfulness or ‘living in the current moment’ is a huge and powerful movement essential for dealing with the many stresses of our everyday lives, and can be part of a whole-family approach to improve everyone’s mental and physical health.

Stage 4 in my book, Ride to Life, describes how to share a mindful meal together:
All members of the family including both parents together at the table at a pre-agreed, regular, non-negotiable time of the evening

  • There is a shared appreciation of the meal and preparation taken to bring it to the table.
  • There is NO technology; e.g., phone, iPads, laptops, TV turned off and preferably nowhere near the dinner table or in the room (no exceptions—it’s non-negotiable).
  • Everyone stays at the table for the duration of the meal—a balanced, mindful meal experience requires 30 minutes of time, making it an ideal opportunity to connect and catch up with one another through deep communication enabled by conversation, a celebration of wins, expression of concerns and looking ahead.
  • If you find it challenging to have conversations around the dinner table, then see more exercises outlined in the Ride to Life book.
  • Before you embark on your new dinner routine, discuss as a family, the expectation of politeness and respect at the table.
  • Each family members paces their eating without rushing, taking at least 20 minutes to consume a healthy meal size.
  • Finally, try to eat till you are satisfied and not uncomfortably full (see
When you start the process of creating new habits around meals, the established patterns of eating will become more apparent to you.

See my book, Ride to Life, a no-nonsense program for breaking your family’s cycle of obesity and connecting to a healthier, happier life.”

Join my decade-long, 2020 Family Health Challenge, answer a few basic questions about your family and receive a free coupon to download the ebook version of Ride to Life. You’ll also get free access to a growing online library of helpful resources, including the 2020 FHC Instagram account, which is focused on mindful eating.

Associate Professor Gary M. Leong MB, BS, FRACP, PhD is a Senior Staff Specialist in Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes Department of Paediatrics, Nepean Hospital, Nepean Blue Mountains, Paediatric Diabetes and Family Metabolic Health Services, The University of Sydney, Charles Perkins Centre Nepean Research Hub, Kingswood, NSW.


Gary Leong

Prof Gary Leong is a paediatric endocrinologist based in NSW and is passionate about educating the community about prevention of childhood obesity and has written a book called, ‘Ride to Life’.

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