Sometimes we eat mindlessly, for reasons other than true hunger. We may eat when stressed, sad, or bored. Eating mindlessly can cause us to lose touch with our internal signals of hunger and fullness. Because our bodies only need calories from food when actually hungry, learning to eat mindfully can help with weight maintenance and weight loss. Here are some ways to adopt mindful eating habits.
LISTEN TO YOUR HUNGER
It is common to lose track of time during a busy day which might lead to long gaps without eating. When we finally do get around to eating we may be so hungry that we grab whatever is most convenient, eat quickly, and consume larger than necessary meal or snack portions. It is helpful to schedule regular breaks to check in with yourself, and if truly hungry, then to take the time to nourish properly to prevent overeating later.
HONOR YOUR FULLNESS
If you tend to be a fast eater it can be helpful to learn to slow down during meals and snacks. This can help you reach the point of being satisfied with your food without feeling uncomfortably full. Putting utensil down between bites, chewing slowly and sipping water with meals are all methods that we can use to slow down our eating pace.
SAVOR YOUR FOOD
We often overlook the pleasure of eating when we rush to finish our meals and snacks. Take time to truly enjoy each bite. Try to eat only foods that you enjoy, and eat them in a pleasant, calm environment. By doing this you will probably discover that it takes less food than you think to feel satisfied.
MAKE EATING ITS OWN ACTIVITY
In our busy world it’s easy to want to eat while multitasking. But eating while you are engaged with other activities, such as working, watching TV, reading, or catching up on emails can lead to eating more than what is truly necessary to satisfy your hunger. Also, when we eat while doing other things we might not really taste our food (which takes away some of the pleasure of the eating experience).
BE AWARE OF YOUR EMOTIONS BEFORE EATING
Try not to use food to cope with emotions. It is common to zone out by eating. But that may lead to eating when we are not truly hungry. It is important to identify other activities to help cope, such as exercise, listening to music, or talking to a friend.