There are so many distractions coming at us from all directions every minute of every day. We have the TV on in the background as we get ready for work , we receive that email during lunch break that you need to read and respond to. Being distracted is a normal occurrence in our busy lives in today's world.
Now how often are these distractions present with you during your normal eating hours? So often are we rushing to entertain ourselves or simply don’t have the time to really take stock and recognize how it feels to eat!
Food is meant to be enjoyed and savored - the blending of herbs and spices, and of texture and taste give the process of eating a very sensory dependent activity. Working to get better at being mindful when you eat will enable you a few different things.
You will eat far less food overall
You will experience flavors and tastes that you didn’t know existed
You will try out new foods and broaden your nutritional taste buds!
Being a mindful eater just takes practice and patience. Here are a few tips that you can use today that will help you to become more mindful when eating!
Eat without distractions - This is one that is a serious challenge even for me! I’ve been guilty of eating a meal while watching a TV show. When you eat while watching TV, your attention is diverted to the screen and not to your plate. Before you know it - you are on your second plate and you’ve only been watching for 3 minutes!
Slow down eating - This is a skill that is so important and so easy that you can do it with the first meal after you read this! Simply slow down your eating pace. Take notice on how long it is taking you to finish a meal and try to shoot for a little slower of a time. For example, if you notice eating breakfast before work takes you only 5 minutes - try to extend that time to 6 or 7 minutes. This will help with overall satiety as well as a more controlled eating skill!
Pay attention to your hunger cues Before the hunger is unbearable and we feel like we can eat anything and will eat anything in sight - there is a valuable lesson to learn about your own body. Take a few deep breaths an hour or 2 before you usually have a meal and recognize how hungry you actually are. Do you find that you aren’t feeling as hungry as you normally would? Good - you might have had a bigger meal prior and are still in your phase of digestion and working off the energy from that meal. Do you feel starved and need to eat anything to hold you over? Good - you might not be eating enough fiber and vegetables on your prior meal to help keep you fuller for longer. It’s all about learning more about how food impacts your hunger levels!
Journal how food makes you feel! We at Forever Fit are heavy believers in journaling your food and how it makes you feel. Taking a 2-3 minute break after finishing a meal to write down how you are feeling can give clues as to what foods may be best for you. Foods that make you feel strong and energized compared to foods that make you feel tired and lethargic. This is a reflective practice that helps to mold you into someone who is a master at mindfulness!
My suggestion is to pick one of these skills off the list and practice it for a week or 2. Do your best to do this on a consistent, daily basis. This consistency of practice is the most important part when it comes to having new skills stick with you. The mindful eater is one who is patient with themselves and with their eating habits!
Become this mindful eater and I promise you, you will feel more in control of your food choices as well as your eating habits. This ability is inside each one of us - it’s just a matter of practice!