Relishing your food can result in weight loss? Research says yes. Often people can fall into the trap of mindless eating when things get busy and life gets hectic and our stomach becomes just a depository only, especially when stressed. Unfortunately, most of the time, food choices made under stress are not the healthiest. The stress hormone cortisol puts our appetite in turmoil and causes us to crave sugar, carbs and any food in general. The end result is cortisol’s infamous ability to add not only fat but belly fat too.
Research shows that eating slowly creates actual biochemical changes that blunt the appetite and staves off hunger after meals. Those that are mindful of what they are eating are calmer, less stressed and when they eat tend to have a lower body weight, a greater sense of well-being, prevent chronic disease, and facilitate a healthful, positive relationship with food.
Mindful eating results in less food intake with a feeling that you’ve had enough food. Mindful eating creates an awareness that allows you determine if it is really hunger or emotions that
Here are eight of my favorite tips to practice and cultivate mindfulness on how and what you eat:
1. For a week, keep a food journal to record the food you eat, the situation (physical and social setting) and your stress level at that time. Notice your trigger, what you feel, what emotion or situation that has perceived control over your eating in any situation so you can look out for these circumstances in the future.
2. Turn off the TV and smartphone – savor the silence and the food while eating.
3. Practice an alternative to “munching” when the situation noted above crops up in your life.
4. Always plan for any obstacles that you may encounter. Maybe it’s sitting down and drinking a cup of tea. Maybe it is taking a 15-minute walk to clear your head. Maybe it is finding a quiet place and practice breathing exercise for a few
5. Take one bite at a time, chew thoroughly and finish one bite before moving on to the next. Don’t allow yourself to take another bite until you have finished chewing.
6. Make a rule of not eating standing up or “on the run”. When you eat, try to sit down, focus on the food – this will bring attention to the food you are eating, and your brain will actually register that you have eaten. This results in less food intake. No eating in the car.
7. Practice mindful eating – take a deep breath, notice your environment, and savor the taste and the texture of the food.
8. Eat slowly – when we are stressed out and in a rush, we just stuff food into our mouth without paying attention to our satiety. Your brain needs about 10 – 15 minute after you eat to register fullness so pause to avoid overeating.
Be present while eating and know that you are contributing to your optimal health, weight loss and longevity.