Mindful eating occurs by eating slowly, enjoying the sight, taste, temperature, texture, and smells of foods rather than wolfing down a quick meal. Each morsel of food should provide pleasure when eating. Learn to eat every two to three hours so that your body becomes acclimated to a healthy digestive rate. Learn to recognize and abide to your body's feelings of hunger by eating regular, small meals rather than eating too much at one time (a recipe for fat gain!)
Here are some tips to mindful eating:
- Avoid distractions when eating. Examples include eating while reading, watching TV, playing video games, on the computer, and/or driving. Recognize the feelings of hunger and fullness when eating.
- Keep a food journal to track how you're eating. A food journal really does provide a wake-up call when it comes to how much food you're actually eating. In most cases, you'll discover you're eating more food than you thought.
- Be aware of your environment when it comes to eating. For example, resist the urge to indulge in a pastry when near the bakery at the food store. The smell of fresh-baked bread is indeed wonderful but be cognizant that what you are experiencing is a sudden craving triggered by the aroma rather than actual hunger or need. Becoming aware helps to avoid temptation and therefore make a conscious choice guided by appetite rather than emotions.
- Ask yourself how hungry are you on a scale of 1 to 10. You should rate above 6 or 7 before eating food. If not, you may be eating due to emotional hunger rather than physical hunger. If you feel emotional hunger, take a time out for two minutes by doing an activity to distract the feeling. Afterward, ask yourself are you still hungry? The urge to eat may have subsided as the feeling has dissipated.
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."