Mindful Eating. It’s Not Just About What You Eat, But How You Eat

Do you ever eat past the point of feeling full? Or maybe you were watching TV and had a bag of chips with you and before you knew it, you ate the whole bag and can’t even remember how it tasted? Do you look for something to eat when you are bored, sad, or stressed out? These are issues many of us face.

In today’s busy world, it is easy to rush through meals without even taking the time to enjoy them, let alone taste them.

What Is Mindful Eating?

That is where the practice of Mindful Eating can help. Mindful Eating is an approach to eating that helps bring awareness back into your eating habits by looking at the internal and external cues of why we eat. It is about tasting and enjoying your food without distractions and listening to your body for hunger and satiety cues.

Practicing mindful eating can help you eat less and enjoy your food more by getting in tune with your body’s satiety (fullness) cues and helping to reduce over-eating.

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Tips To Eat Mindfully

Here are some tips to help you eat more mindfully:

Don’t eat in autopilot mode

Do you eat meals or snacks at the same time every day without asking yourself if you are hungry? Next time 11:59 am rolls around and you are getting ready to grab your lunch, ask yourself if you are really hungry.

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Minimize distractions and don’t multi-task

People often eat in the car, while reading the newspaper, studying, or while at their desk and don’t make it a priority. Next time you stop for a meal or snack, actually stop what you are doing, turn off the TV, put your cell phone away, and give eating your full attention.

Savor each bite

While eating, take a moment to think about and enjoy the taste, color, texture, smell, and even sound of what you are eating. Put a bite in your mouth and pause before chewing to savor the taste. Try doing this with a favorite food or a treat and savor each bite. Enjoy the moment.

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Slow down

Slowing down your pace of eating can help prevent you from eating to the point of being overstuffed. Try putting your cutlery down between bites of food and chew your food well. It takes time for your stomach and mind to connect and register signals that you are full.

Listen to your body

Next time you are searching for something to eat, ask yourself if you are really hungry. If the answer is no, ask yourself why you are looking for food. Is it because you are you bored or sad? Is the environment tempting you? Make a conscious effort to acknowledge why you searching for food. If you are physically hungry, go ahead and eat.

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Getting into the habit of mindful eating can take time and practice. With many environmental and personal triggers to eat as well as time constraints of a busy lifestyle, bringing awareness into the moment of eating can take time.

Start small, maybe it will be with one mouthful of food or one meal a week. Choose a meal where you feel relaxed and are by yourself. Try to make it a daily practice.

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March is nutrition month and this year’s theme is all about making small changes, one meal at a time, and sticking with them. But, sometimes improving your eating habits is not just about what you eat, but about how you eat.

Today’s post is from my coworker Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator Christina Zavaglia, RD MHSc CDE

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