Do you ever find yourself sitting on the couch, snacking on chips or popcorn and before you know it, you’ve eaten the entire bag without realizing it? Do you ever find yourself so hungry that you eat not one portion, but two or even three portions of a meal until you feel overly full? Do you ever walk into the break room at work, see a plate of cookies and immediately grab one and eat it? Lastly, do you ever find yourself eating because you are stressed or bored? This is called mindless eating, a type of eating that can easily become one of habit and one of health concern. Many of us have (mindlessly) trained our bodies over several years to mindlessly eat. We see, we eat.
Eating mindfully is being aware of what you are eating. You are present and conscious of how food tastes, how much you are eating, and how full you feel as you eat. Food is meant to fuel our body so we can live life well, with energy to work hard and love others. Constant overindulging and eating without thinking leaves us feeling empty, sick, and lifeless. However, in a culture that considers portion size and then triples it, we are continuously challenged with the choice: to eat mindlessly or to eat mindfully?
As you practice mindful eating, incorporate the following techniques:
Control portion size. Believe it or not, you can control portion size, even in restaurants!
Tips to control portion size in restaurants:
- Split a meal with someone
- Ditch the appetizers and dessert
- Ask for a to-go box when your meal is served, and pack up half of it before you eat
Tips to control portion size at home:
- Measure portions into containers for later use
- Prepare meals with exact portions
- Don’t eat while multi-tasking
- Use a smaller plate
Consider the nutrients. Ask yourself, “Is what I’m eating beneficial to my body?” or “How is my body using the nutrients I am eating?”
Savor flavor and taste. Appreciate delicious and nutritious foods!
Slow down. Chew your food slowly. Assess how long your meal times are during the day. Do you need to allow yourself more time to eat at a slower pace?
Don’t go back for seconds, immediately. Allow time for digestion and satiety to take place and assess if you are truly still hungry or not.
Eat in a positive atmosphere. Make this is a time to sit down around the table with the people you love and the people that encourage you. Invest in each other’s lives. Think of this time as a double whammy for your mind- Not only are you savoring the food you are eating but also savoring the memories you’re making with those around the table.