Do you find yourself wolfing down meals without noticing and eating everything in front of you just because it’s there? That’s mindless eating at work. To eat mindfully is not about following the latest fad. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. It’s about paying full attention to what you’re eating and how you’re eating it, encouraging you to make better food choices and foster a healthy relationship with food.
Discover these ways to zen your diet.
It may sound obvious, but eating out of a bag or box is a mindless practice. Get in the habit of placing even small snacks on a plate before you eat them. This will force you to acknowledge exactly what and how much you will be eating.
‘Real’ hunger is very different from ‘perceived’ hunger which is often an indication of boredom or a symptom of procrastination. For example, if you’ve just eaten within the last two hours, chances are you are not physically hungry. The best way to rate your hunger is to think about how hungry you are on a scale of 1-10. Aim to eat until you’re satisfied, leaving yourself neither stuffed or starving.
Most of the time eating is done on auto pilot or can feel like another item on the to-do list. If you’re one of those people who find it hard to eat lunch away from your desk or eat dinner scrolling through your social feed, challenge yourself to eat without multi-tasking. Research shows that eating while distracted makes it harder to recall the amount of food consumed, prompting you to eat more. Set aside time for eating without distraction.
Chewing your food is the first step in digestion, and not chewing your food long enough can lead to indigestion, poor nutrient absorption, pain and bloating. Another perk – it can help to reduce your calorie intake by helping you feel full, faster. The end result – you eat less! Be sure to chew every bite a minimum of 10 times, put utensils down between each bite, or try eating with chopsticks as a fun way to slow things down.
About half way through your meal, check in with yourself and notice how you are feeling. Are you getting full? How much more food do you want to eat to feel satisfied? Getting in the habit of checking in encourages you to eat how much you need, not how much you think you should eat. Sometimes your mother was wrong – you don’t need to everything on your plate.