How to enjoy food more, and eat less.
Eating healthy is not just about the mindlessly gobbling down so called healthy foods. It is about listening to your body and treating it with the respect it deserves. Often people are unaware of the unhealthy habits they have because they do not stop to observe their eating habits. Mindfulness is a great way to become aware of the habits that are making you unhealthy.
- Only eat. Do not do anything else. Do not eat while watching TV, driving, walking, surfing the Internet (that’s right, put that chip down), or working. Sit down and concentrate on the flavor and texture of the food.
- Pay attention to what triggers you to eat. Do you always have a bag of chips when you watch Montel? Do you eat when you are bored? Do you eat just because you think you should?
- Eat slowly. Set your fork down in between bites. Do not pick it up until you are done chewing and swallowing. If you are very hungry, this can be difficult. Take some deep breaths if you need to.
- Set the table. Make each meal a little special. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Set your food up in a nice, attractive fashion, put your spoon or fork on a napkin.
- Be a food snob. Only eat what you really and truly like to eat. Do you eat those day old pastries in the break room because they are good or is it because that is what is there?
- Do not eat “diet food”. It doesn’t taste good and it is not filling. Diet foods also fools you into thinking you can eat more without thinking about it.
- Read labels. Make yourself aware of what is in the food you are eating. Get acquainted with portion sizes. Lots of the foods we think are individual portions are really two or three.
- Feel hungry. It is not the worst feeling in the world. You do not have to get to the point of starving, just feel your stomach growl. Let hunger trigger you to eat and not other things.
- Defect from the clean plate club. It is not a crime to throw food away. Be honest with yourself. Let your body tell you when to stop, not what is on your plate. If this is hard, when you feel full (or just begin to feel full), remove your plate from in front of you. If you are at home, throw the food away. If you are out, set your plate on the edge of the table to let your waiter know to take it away.
- Listen to calming music while you dine. Try some classical music on a classical music station. It may only be possible once a day or a few times a week. Do it as often as possible. This will help you relax while you eat. If you eat somewhere regularly that is loud or distracting (and it is not dinner with your family) consider using head phones.
- Do not judge. “You are not bad or evil if you eat cake and ice cream and you are not a saint if you eat the veggie plater or a bowl of fruit.” ( Melissa Clark and Robin Aronson authors of The Skinny)
The benefits of mindful eating are great. Eating mindfully can help you enjoy your food more, eat less and dare say, help you loose weight. You will also feel better about yourself. So give it a shot. Try it for a week or two.