How often do you sit down to eat in front of the TV or your laptop, or eat in the car “on the go”, and before you know it, you’re finished and you haven’t even tasted a bite?
Today’s busy schedules mean that for many of us, sitting down to a meal at a table and taking the time to notice and enjoy every mouthful rarely, if ever, happens!
Eating mindlessly can lead to bad eating habits and weight gain.
Mindful eating can help address our relationship with food. It means focusing on the food you are eating – the taste, textures and sensory attributes. Research has shown that mindful eating can reduce bingeing, encourage a focused enjoyment of food and lessen the struggle to control eating. Shifting your attention to the meal in front of you will increase your awareness of your own eating habits. You will start to recognize reoccurring thinking patterns, emotions and the various types of hunger levels and cravings that can affect your appetite based on your emotions.
When it comes to weight loss, mindful eating is likely to help. Mindfulness training has been increasingly incorporated into weight-loss programs to promote dietary and physical activity changes. Studies have even found that higher ratings on mindfulness-based tests are significantly inversely associated with unhealthy weight status and obesity.
Below are some tips to help you practice mindful eating. Set a goal to eat one meal a day using the below guidelines. The more you can take time out for yourself to savor a meal, the more mindful eating will become a common practice!
- Eat your meal over 20 minutes
- Chew slowly, taking small bites. Experiment with using chopsticks or smaller utensils.
- Consider the food you are eating for a few minutes, where it came from, how it may be nourishing you and what it is like to smell and eat.
- Feel the sense of fullness in your body. Eating slowly can help your stomach let you know when you have had enough.
- Before you reach for food, ask yourself, am I actually hungry, sense into your feeling of what hunger is! Perhaps all you need is a glass of water, a short walk or a breath of fresh air.