Raise your hand if this is a familiar situation – you sit down with a coffee and a muffin and your phone to check your Facebook account. You reach for the muffin, only to find it is gone. You don’t remember finishing it, but its gone. Or perhaps you grab your popcorn and drink when you get to the theater. But before the movie has even started, the popcorn is gone. These two situations involve mindless eating and it may be sabotaging your weight loss attempts.
The opposite of mindless eating is mindful eating. Mindfulness involves being in the present moment. Mindful eating involves being present when you eat. It seems simple enough, but is it actually quite difficult. If you start to think about it you’ll realize how many times a day you are eating while doing something else.
You might eat at your desk while working, eat while watching TV or eat in your car on the way to a meeting. Even if you are eating dinner at the table there is a good chance, the TV is on, or you are reading the news.
How do you eat mindfully?
If you want to start eating mindfully there are several things you need to do. Try to eat sitting down, preferably at a table. Turn off (or put aside) all electronic devices and even the newspaper. Put your bowl or plate of food in front of you. Before you take the first bite, sense the food in other ways. How does it look? How does it smell? Is your mouth starting to water with anticipation?
Take your first bite, then put your fork down while you chew. Think about how it tasted. Does it taste different than you expected. Think about the texture of the food. How does it feel in your mouth? Continue with this process for the entire meal or until you feel full.
How does eating mindfully help with weight loss?
Eating mindfully can help with weight loss. When you eat mindfully you notice when you are satisfied so are less likely to overeat. When you take time to taste your food, you may find that junk food and processed food don’t taste as good anymore. If you follow the steps above, you will likely be eating slower. This gives your body a chance to feel full and because you are mindful of that fullness, you are likely to stop. If you eat mindfully, you think about what you are about to do when you reach for a handful of chips. You may realize that you are not really hungry and start to think about why you want the chips.
Is that all there is to it?
Mindful eating is much harder than it sounds. We are bombarded by so many distractions, it is easy to mindlessly eat something. Were you eating something while reading this article? Mindful eating will not lead to rapid weight loss, but will likely change the way you look at what you are eating.
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