Five Mindful Eating Tips
Do you remember the last meal you ate? Can you describe the flavors, smells and textures of your food? Many of us eat while doing something else - watching TV, surfing the internet, working at our desk or even talking. Growing research suggests that eating while distracted prevents us from enjoying the bite in our mouth. The term “mindless eating,” is an innocent behavior linked to overeating, stress and increased anxiety.
This weekend, I'm giving a talk on Mindful Eating at The Energy Club in Arlington, VA. Mindful eating helps you break free from unconscious habits by paying attention to the thoughts and feelings that affect how and why you eat (or don’t eat).
If you want to feel fully satisfied after a meal, here are a five tips to get you started.
1. Shift out of Autopilot
What did you have for dinner last night? Be honest. Many people eat the same food just out of habit. This starts with your grocery list. Notice whether you are stuck in a rut or routine.
2. Take Mindful Bites
Did you ever eat an entire plate and only notice the after-taste? Bring all your senses to the dinner table. Smell the aroma from the grill. Notice the textures of yogurt on your tongue. Truly taste your meal. Directly experience each bite from start to finish.
3. Attentive Eating
We are all busy and have “a lot on our plate.” It is hard to make eating a priority rather than an option or side task. If you get the urge to snack while working, or activities, stop and take a break, so that you can give eating your full attention. When you eat, just eat.
4. Mindfully Check In
Ask yourself, how hungry am I on a scale of one to ten? Gauging your hunger level is a continuous balancing act. Aim to eat until you are satisfied, leaving yourself neither over-stuffed nor starving.
5. Thinking Mindfully
Observe how defeating thoughts like, “I’ll never get to my ideal weight” can creep into your consciousness. Just because you think these thoughts doesn’t mean you have to let them sway your emotions. Counteract negative thoughts with positive affirmations to stop the triggers of overeating and adequately feeding your hunger. Remember: A thought is just a thought, not a fact.
The Mindful Eating Center http://thecenterformindfuleating.org/
National Eating Disorders Association www.nationaleatingdisorder.org