Mindful eating is one of the key elements in making profound dietary habit changes that will lead to permanent and sustained weight loss and weight management. This means that you need to form a strong connection with the food you’re eating and acknowledge how your body reacts to it.
Use these 10 tips to help you become a more mindful eater so that you can create lasting change.
- Get rid of the distractions: Nowadays, most people search for a distraction when they’re eating. Some enjoy eating their meals in their cars while on their way to work, while other enjoy eating while watching a movie or a TV show or even reading a book. However, usually when you pair eating with any other activity, you will eat mindlessly. There is no way around it, other than to completely get rid of the distractions. It’s not that bad of an idea to actually sit down in silence and really taste and appreciate the food you’re eating. Use a fork and knife, take your time, and eat slowly to allow your body to register satiety and enjoy every bite. Devote all your attention to your meal from start to finish.
- Use all the senses: Use your sense of touch and smell to enjoy your meal. Pay attention to the aromas, the textures, and the taste of every single bite.
- Think before you eat: Identify any pitfalls that may lead you to wolf down food that you do not need. For example, if you have had a stressful day, identify this fact, and become aware of it so you can deliberately avoid stress related mindless over-eating.
- Make a list: Begin to think about what triggers you towards mindless eating. Is it the TV? The Super Bowl, movies? Perhaps, it is emotions or even going out with friends. Once you have your list you can make mindful choices in those situations to stay on top of your eating habits.
- Stop finishing your plate: Sure, we’re all used to finishing the entire plate and eating those last few bites even if we know that we’re full, but sometimes it’s better to just leave a piece of food there. In case you don’t want to throw away food, then you should make sure to put less food on your plate. Better yet, use smaller plates with strategic portions of each food group and then you don’t have to worry about portion control.
- Never eat from the bag or box: When you take a whole bag of chips to the couch, you will likely eat way more chips than you should, the same goes for ice cream, or even something healthy like nuts. Instead serve yourself a small portion in a bowl, 6 chips, a handful of nuts or a small portion of ice cream and then eat only what is there.
- Learn to identify real hunger: The next time you decide to grab a bag of chips, make sure you ask yourself if you’re in the mood for a fruit or a vegetable. If the answer is no, then you need to be aware that you weren’t really hungry in the first place, and maybe you are just bored and it’s maybe best that you put down that bag of chips.
- Reduce portions even when you’re eating out: When you are ready to order, make sure you tell the waiter to pack up one half of your food to g and to only bring you the other half while you’re at the restaurant. Also, as soon as you sit down, make sure you say that you don’t want bread at your table. This way you won’t even have to look at it, which will surely make you avoid overeating.
- Just because you’ve started eating a few healthier meals every week doesn’t mean that you should also start eating more junk food: Some people often decide to more sweets and snacks as soon as they start eating a healthy meal per day, but this will only make you an even bigger mindless eater. People generally do this because they feel like they deserve it for managing to even start eating a little healthier. However, they ultimately end up overeating instead of maintaining a healthy balance.
- Try taking the ‘eating pause’: Some find it to be a strange concept, but it actually works. The next time you’re eating a meal, try taking a break from eating for a few minutes during the meal. After 5 minutes have passed, look at your plate and try to determine if you’ve had enough to eat. Don’t ask yourself if you’re full! Instead, ask yourself if you’re still hungry. If you’re still experiencing hunger, then you should go ahead and eat; but if you aren’t hungry anymore, then it’s best to leave any leftover food alone.
Instead of not paying attention to the food we consume, mindful eating makes us form a really strong connection with it.