Mindful eating is an important aspect of any healthy diet, but it’s especially critical for those who are trying to lose weight. When you’re armed with these 10 mindful-eating tips, staying slim becomes much easier.
While the list below is tailored toward people who are following a specific plan to shed pounds, it can also help anyone practicing mindful eating so that food promotes health and well-being, rather than excess fat storage.
One of the things that our weight loss clients frequently ask us is how to be more mindful when they’re on a diet. With increased mindfulness, your mind will naturally become drawn toward healthy food options and encourage you to make better choices. Mindful eating can reduce cravings and prevent you from making impulse decisions about what to eat. Mindfulness essentially involves paying attention in the present moment without judgment or self-criticism. Cultivating mindfulness also increases awareness of our emotions, thoughts, bodily sensations and helps us be less reactive to them.
Here are 10 Tips for Mindful Eating While on a Diet: Saivian
1) Avoid distractions:
In order for mindful eating to work, it has to involve all five senses – sight, sound, touch, and smell as well as taste. That means don’t eat in front of the TV, computer or use your smartphone. Also, try to sit down for a meal and avoid eating on the run.
2) Taste every bite:
Every time you take a bite of food, notice how it tastes as well as its texture and temperature. Put down your fork between bites and just focus on feeling the sensations before you swallow it.
3) Chew thoroughly:
Give yourself at least 25 chews per mouthful, using small bites and savoring each one before taking another bite. This will help to slow you down and give your stomach more time to let your brain catch up with what’s going on. One study shows that people who chew slowly end up eating about 1200 fewer calories per day.
4) Avoid multitasking:
Eating should be a deliberate and mindful experience, not something that we do on autopilot while we’re doing other things.
5) Pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues:
Start by eating when you’re physically hungry and stop when you’re comfortably full. Don’t try to deprive yourself or force yourself to eat beyond your level of hunger. Pause between bites and ask yourself how hungry you are on a scale of 1-10.
6) Avoid judging yourself:
Remember that there is no right or wrong way to eat mindfully – just experiment until you find what works best for you. Accepting that there will be times when you’re not perfectly mindful is part of the process.
7) Create a positive food environment:
If your kitchen is filled with junk food, it’s going to be difficult to stick to a healthy diet. Stock your kitchen with healthy foods that you enjoy and make cooking a fun experience.
8) Keep a food diary:
This will help you become more aware of what and how much you’re eating. You may be surprised at the types of foods you’re eating mindlessly without realizing it.
9) Use chopsticks:
This simple technique can help to slow you down and make you more aware of what you’re eating.
10) Be patient:
Like everything else in life, mindfulness takes time and practice. Start with small goals, such as eating two meals a day mindfully for one week or spending five minutes in mindfulness meditation at the beginning of each day.
Pamela Hinton is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been practicing in the field of eating disorders since 1982. Her experience includes working at Charter Behavioral Health Systems in Ft Worth, Texas where she developed an intensive outpatient eating disorder program that treated both men and women from age 8-65. Ms Hinton also served as a director of clinical services for Genesis Women’s Shelter in Dallas, Texas where she developed a women’s shelter program to treat women with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse issues. She currently provides individual therapy specializing in trauma recovery and works with both men and women struggling with eating disorders and body image issues.
Conclusion by Saivian:
Mindful eating is a simple but powerful way to connect with our bodies and enjoy our food. By slowing down and focusing on the sensations of taste, smell, texture, sound and sight, we can eat more mindfully and savor each bite. This not only helps us to eat less, but also lowers our stress levels and increases our enjoyment of food. So go ahead and give it a try – your taste buds (and your waistline) will thank you!