Hunger is the only thing that affects how much we eat, right? Wrong! Research has shown that multitasking—like eating while watching TV or working—and distracted or hurried eating can prompt us to eat more. Paying attention to a meal, however, was linked to eating less later on. How do we do this successfully? Enter the practice of mindful eating!
Mindfulness involves being fully aware of what is happening within and around you at the moment. Applied to eating, mindfulness is about experiencing food more intensely – especially the pleasure of it! Appreciate the colors, smells, flavors, and textures of your food. Get in tune with your body by asking yourself what the food is doing for you: Are you enjoying it? Are you full? Is it leaving you energized?
The rhythm of life is fast; mindful eating is one way to regain awareness and get back in touch with the present moment. If it is a new concept for you, start gradually. Eat one meal a day or week in a slower, more attentive manner. Below are some tips to help get you started:
- Set your kitchen timer to 20 minutes, and take that time to eat a normal-sized meal.
- Put away the phone, computer, TV and books while you’re eating.
- Take three deep breaths before you start your meal and let the sound of your breathing ground you in the present moment.
- Take small bites and chew well.
- Eat silently for the first five minutes; think about what it took to produce that meal, from the sun’s rays to the farmer, from the grocer to the cook.
- Slow down. Put your fork down between bites and think about how your food tastes. Is it sweet, creamy, crunchy, or salty? How does the meal make you feel?
- Before opening the fridge or cabinet, ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?” If not, do something else, like reading or going on a short walk.