Have you ever watched a TV show with a packet of chips, and then all of a sudden, the whole bag of chips is gone? You think to yourself, “Did I really eat that whole pack? Where did the rest of the chips go?”
This is a perfect example of what you call “Mindless Eating” and is a very common practice when you are distracted by another activity whilst mindlessly munching on your meal. Generally, we are unaware of how much we are really eating because we are distracted by something else which leads to eating much more than you need.
To help yourself learn to eat with more awareness, try these 6 simple steps to practice eating mindfully and prevent overeating and mindless consumption. Your aim is to be more aware of how you’re eating and what you’re eating. You want to be able to taste each bite and not rush your meal so that your stomach registers that it is full. When you are aware of the meal that you are eating, you will realise the moment you are physically satisfied rather than bursting at the seams stuffed. It is a great technique for weight control and these tips will work no matter what type of eating plan you practice.
5 Steps for Mindful Eating
1. Sit down to eat (even when it is only a snack) Multitasking is so common now in our busy lives but when you are having a meal, just STOP for a few minutes and concentrate on eating what is in front of you. Savour your meal, turn off your laptop or TV and just eat.
2. Take two deep breaths before you eat I know you are probably always in a rush, but before you sit down to start eating, take two deep breaths and a time out. Pause to reflect on what you’re about to eat and be thankful for the food you are about to eat.
3. Be aware of each mouthful Pay attention to what is in your mouth – the flavour, the texture. Don’t stuff your mouth with as much food as possible, take the time to eat your meal and enjoy the taste of your food.
4. Make serving sizes realistic
Plate up normal portions of food (not diet size). Your meal will be more enjoyable, will fill you up for longer, and won’t be finished before you know it.
5. Slow it down
Have you ever finished a meal and thought that to yourself, “I just inhaled that meal?”. Well I am sure the first bite was delicious, but the other bites in between were forgettable. Slow it down when you are eating so that you don’t finish your meal without even realising it. Put your knife and fork between bites to slow yourself down.
Eating is not a race to finish first. Make your meal last at least 15 minutes.
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Originally published in Food Watch