I spoke to my friend Cathy recently about work and how busy it’s been. She was telling me how she sometimes gets so caught up in her daily workflow that she often sits in front of her computer and eats lunch instead of taking a break. She laughed and said that she ‘starts chowing down and before I know it, the food is gone and I don’t even remember what it tasted like.” I laughed and shared that I could totally relate. It has happened to me too.
Sound familiar? If it does, don't be embarrassed.
Too many of us eat mindlessly because we live busy, rushed lives that require expertise in multitasking. We also live in a world filled with over-stimulations and distractions. In this kind of an environment, it’s very common to start a task and then get pulled in another direction either physically, mentally or sometimes both.
However, when we are trying to lose weight we have to make an effort to eat mindfully.
What is mindful eating?
Mindfulness is all over the internet. I’ve heard and read about it for years, but it’s only been recently that it’s actually resonated with me. Mindful Eating is being AWARE.
You’re likely asking yourself what you need to be aware of, so I’ll explain. Being mindful when you’re eating means to take inventory of your feelings before, during and after you eat. This is especially important if you have a tendency to eat when your’e feeling stressed or emotional. If you are tapped into your emotional triggers, you will learn healthier ways of coping with your emotional triggers, rather than using food as a way to soothe yourself.
Mindful eating is also appreciating with the tastes, smells and textures of the foods you're eating. When you slow down and pay attention, the experience is more meaningful and it leads to behavioral changes; you’ll enjoy the flavor of your foods more. You will be aware of when you are full and most importantly, you will savor and enjoy your meal. How often do we scarf down our meals and then not feel satisfied because we missed the whole eating experience due to multi-tasking?
Just like with anything else in life, once you're aware of a habit you can start to work on changing it
Here are 8 tips on how to be more mindful when you eat: .
Take time to prepare your meal thoughtfully so you're aware of what's on your plate: If you rush to make a sandwich you'll likely gulp it down. Prep time can set the tone for the meal.
Slow down: Take the time to savor the taste and texture of your food.
Focus on chewing your food thoroughly: if you just put it in your mouth, chew and swallow without thinking, you may not even be really tasting it. Slow down to savor the moment.
Concentrate on the flavor: enjoy the smell and the deliciousness of it!
Don't multi task while you're eating. No working, TV, driving, etc.
Eat at the kitchen table, not on the couch: this sets the right message and ensures focus. If you are on the couch, you're likely going to watch TV, which is a big no-no.
Portion out your snack rather than taking the whole bag. Think about what happens when you sit down with a bag of chips. Yep, if you don't pay attention, you'll eat the whole dark thing. Portion your snack into a bowl, you'll eat less and thank yourself later!
Take the time to learn your emotional eating triggers and then find something else to do, rather than eat (take a walk, call a friend, etc.)
Being mindful may not be realistic 100% of the time because we have busy lives, but try to slow down a bit and enjoy the feelings, the flavors and the experience of eating. You’ll find that it’s a game changer!
Bee healthy. Bee happy.