More and more studies have been supporting the concept of mindful eating when it comes to weight loss, weight control, and overall health. Here’s the 101 on this popular method that can help you develop healthier eating habits.
What’s Mindful Eating?
Eating mindfully involves an awareness of the foods you choose to eat, the environment you eat in and your hunger cues. Many folks don’t pay attention to their daily habits which may be leading to unhealthy eating (such as mindlessly munching in front of the TV). It’s common practice to take a bag of chips and relax in front of the TV for the evening. By the time the commercials hit, you’re wondering where all your chips went.
You really want to use all your senses when eating mindfully. Taste the food by savoring every bite, eat in a quiet environment or with pleasant conversation, smell the delicious flavors, and look at variety of colors (from fruits and veggies) that are on your plate.
Some mindful eating programs also incorporate meditation and gentle stretching. These techniques help decrease overall stress, which can help lower calorie intake if you like to eat when you’re stressed.
5 Ways to Eat Mindfully
The concepts are pretty simple, but take time to perfect in order to achieve long-term healthful changes to your eating habits.
- Set a peaceful environment: Step away from your computer and turn off the television, smart phone, and any other electronic devices. Sit down, relax and enjoy your meal.
- Make time for your meals: Don’t try to do double duty and eat on the run or while you’re driving. Instead, set aside 15 or 20 minutes to have your meal in a peaceful environment focusing ONLY on eating.
- Assess how hungry you are: Don’t eat when you’re feeling famished, instead gauge your hunger cues. Keep track of how hungry you are (from 0-10, 10 being most hungry) before, during, and after meals for a few days. Then look back to ascertain why you gave these ratings. Sometimes there are physical factors (like stress or boredom) that led you to eat (or overeat).
- Slow down and savor every bite: Many folks shove food down and don’t take the time to taste it. Instead, take a bite of your meal, close your eyes and focus of the flavors while you slowly chew. If you’re having trouble slowing down how quickly you’re eating try using chopsticks, chewing food 30 times or so per bite, or eating with your non-dominant hand.
- Choose foods you enjoy: There is a misconception that low calorie or healthy foods aren’t tasty and that’s anything but true. The proof: this healthy eating blog and all of these healthy recipes! You can find thousands of healthy and delicious recipes from breakfast fare to dessert.
TELL US: Do you practice mindful eating?