It’s important to know how Mindful Eating can be a beneficial approach to your mealtime routine. Here I’ll walk you through the benefits of it as well as a few tips and exercises you can start implementing to begin your mindful eating practice journey.
Mindful Eating Helps You…
- Slow down the pace of eating
- Have a great appreciation for the food that’s in front of you
- Notice how food makes you feel during and after eating
- Recognize when you’re full
- Differentiate between true hunger and emotional hunger
So it’s a really valuable and powerful tool in helping you reach your goals without those feelings of restriction and deprivation. Here are a few different things you can start practicing.
Tip #1: Pause
Before you even pick up your fork, pause.
Make sure you’re nice and comfy, once you are, take a few deep breaths THEN pick up your fork and enjoy your meal.
Giving yourself these few moments before you start your meal can help with your digestion and help you savor your food.
Tip #2: NO Distractions
Try starting each meal with NO distractions.
This means instead of eating while scrolling your phone, eating in front of the TV, or even eating while working – find a comfortable spot at your counter or dining table with no electronics. It’s easier said than done!
Try silencing your phone, turning off the TV, or stepping away from your computer and see how it changes the dynamics of your meal. This can help you enjoy and appreciate your meal and help you recognize when you feel satisfied! Studies have actually shown that distracted eaters consume more calories in a sitting than non-distracted ones. This is likely because they aren’t listening to their satiety cues since they’re distracted by something else.
Tip #3: Take Time to Appreciate Your Food
Engage your senses when you eat. How often do you really appreciate the food on your plate to this extent? Next time you eat a meal, ask the following questions…
- What does it look like?
- How does it smell?
- What does it feel like?
- How does it sound when you eat it?
- How does it taste?
Sometimes, even using a food journal can help you practice this. Really engage these senses and it makes meal time so much more enjoyable.
Tip #4: Learn Your Cues
The sensation of hunger and fullness is experienced differently by everyone!
Hunger is simply a cue that your body signals when it needs sustenance
Fullness is simply a cue that your body signals when it’s no longer in need of nourishment!
Understanding what these cues feel like to you can be really helpful so you know when you are hungry or when you’ve had enough. We all know that feeling when we had a couple bites too many and our stomach is painfully bloated when we try to go to bed that night. We want to remind ourselves of that and work to avoid it…so using the tips described above helps slow you down so that you can take the time to notice your cues. It’s helpful to make sure your meal lasts 20-30 minutes. If you’re scarfing down your food in a quick 10 minute lunch break, chances are you could be eating more than you really need to (or not enough!) but your stomach doesn’t have enough time to send the signal to your brain that its full. Also recognize that we are no longer children being told to “clean our plates”. If you’re full, you don’t have to keep eating.
Tip #5: Eat What You Desire
Satisfaction is the epicenter of intuitive eating! Picture this scenario: You are hungry and craving a piece of chocolate but decide it’s better for you to eat some carrot sticks instead. You eat them, and then you still want that chocolate anyway but at this point, it’s in excess of the snack you just had. Sound familiar?
When we start a ‘diet’ we immediately cut out foods that we ‘shouldn’t’ have Which leaves us feeling unsatisfied because we’re not eating what we want.
SQUASH those FOOD RULES! You can eat what you want and get to where you want to be PLUS feel super satisfied every time you eat a meal.
There will be more mindful eating tips to come! Use these 5 tricks to get you started and let me know in the comments if you try any of them!
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