When people say that they want to eat more healthy food they often immediately look up meal plans to find out exactly what to eat. However, we often forget that part of achieving a healthy diet is learning how to actually change our behaviors that caused our unhealthy habits. That's what mindful eating aims to achieve. Continue reading to learn 6 ways to practice mindful eating.
1. Remove distractions
Let's go back to basics... sit at the dining table, turn off the television, move your phone away, and focus on the food! When you aren't focused on the food in front of you, you don't register what you are eating. You don't take the time to enjoy your meal because your mind is elsewhere and you are more likely to overeat.
2. Slow it down
Did you know that your stomach takes about 20 minutes to register that you're full? So slow it down! Speedy eaters eat more calories then people who eat slowly because they don't give their brain enough time to catch up with their stomach. Force yourself to eat more slowly by taking breaks between meals. It can help to chew your food really well before swallowing, sipping water throughout your meal or eating with your non-dominant hand.
3. Only eat when you're hungry
In this day in age food is available around every corner. It is so available to us. Speaking for myself who works in a hospital, I can say that there is always a full lolly jar on every ward and sometimes it just speaks to you and you find yourself eating even when you're not physically hungry. This is the recipe for overeating. When you learn to eat more mindfully you're able to listen to your body rather then the clock, those around you, the food available to you, the calendar, and your environment.
4. Enjoy what you're eating
I'm not the fun police, it's okay to treat yourself, but all I'm asking for you to do is to enjoy it. If you want to have a treat you need to make sure that you really want it, that you're not just eating it because it's available to you. Use all of your senses to enjoy it, because if you don't, you won't really taste it or register what you've eaten and as a result you're more likely to overeat.
5. Establish a healthy relationship with food
In an ideal world we would always find nutritious food fulfilling, satisfying and comforting. But that's not always the case. We have emotional connections with food that we crave to provide us with comfort. Instead of caving to the emotional crave you need to find something else to do that you enjoy. Whether it's simply having a bath, going for a walk, watching a movie, reading a book, playing an instrument, or calling a friend, you need to find another way to fill the craving.
6. Put your food on a plate
Sounds self-explanatory doesn't it, but think about how often you've eaten chips straight out of the bag. If you individually portion your food out rather then eating it straight from the packaging it's served, you are less likely to overeat it as it will force you to acknowledge exactly what and how much you will be eating.