Mindful eating is a powerful thing! Unfortunately, mindless eating is the norm.
We’ve all done it … eaten something on the run without taking the time to enjoy it or even consciously realize that we are eating.
Or eaten an entire bag of Doritos while sitting in front of the tv. And let’s not get started on those ice cream tales.
For me, the object of my mindless eating was eating lunch in front of the TV. Anytime there was an action scene, I noticed I ate faster. I cringe to think about how many calories I used to mindlessly eat. Healthy or not, excess calories still results in weight gain.
Studies have shown that distracted eaters weigh an average of 18% more than mindful eaters.
Below are 10 tips to get you on the path to mindful eating. We cover these tips more in depth, along with other healthy eating methodologies in our HTF Virtual Executive program.
Focus on the Food, Not the Distractions.
When we focus on the food, our brain becomes more satiated. Turn off the TV, put down your cell phone and get away from that computer to maximize your eating pleasure.
Engage all Your Senses While You Eat.
Use all your senses (including common sense). Look at the food. Smell the food. Feel the texture of the food. Taste the food. And listen to the sounds it makes as you eat it.
Put Your Fork Down After Every Single Bite.
My mother always used to say, “slow down” to anyone in the family scarfing down meals. Putting your fork down between bites will definitely slow you down.
Eat with Chopsticks or Your Non-Dominant Hand.
Need more help slowing down? Then try eating with chopsticks or your “other” hand. But please, put a napkin on your lap, on your blouse, and everywhere else. I don’t want to be responsible for ruining your clothing.
Save the Very Best Bite for Last!
Your final bite should be one that places you in food heaven. Pick it in advance. Strategically place it on your plate and ceremoniously eat it to mark the end of another great meal.
Sit Down While Eating Every Single Meal.
Sit. Stay. Eat. And I don’t mean in the car. Stop multi-tasking your life. You deserve a peaceful time to eat and to enjoy your food. Give yourself that small gift, even if it’s only 15 minutes.
Eat on Small and Pretty Plates.
Plates have grown and grown over the decades and this has led to portion distortion. Eating off a smaller plate will help control portions and trick your mind into thinking you ate more than you did.
Go for 80% Full When Eating Each Meal.
Being stuffed (think all-you-can-eat buffet type stuffed) is extremely uncomfortable. It takes your stomach 20 minutes to tell your brain it’s full, so give it time and space. Shoot for 80% full. Think you are still hungry after your meal? Wait 15 minutes. I doubt you’ll go back for more.
Chew Each Bite 20-30 Times.
There are several good reasons for this one, including avoiding choking which would not be good. This practice slows you down and helps you enjoy what you’re eating. I always lose count but singing a short song in your head will work just as well.
Lick Your Ice Cream Instead of Using a Spoon.
And drink your soup instead of using a spoon, too. Our taste buds light up more when food is placed directly on our tongue rather than having a spoon as the middleman. Don’t believe me? Try it. You’ll agree.
So there you have it. Ten easy ways to begin mindful eating.