By: Shari Brown
Have you ever found yourself snacking on a bag of chips while studying or watching TV? Or have you ever piled your plate with too much food at the dining commons or a buffet in downtown Davis? Next thing you know the food is gone, and you feel overstuffed. What just happened? Some may call it an episode of mindless eating. Most of us were born as intuitive eaters (i.e. eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re satisfied), but many of us have lost touch with our body cues and do not practice mindfulness when eating.
Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment and being aware of our thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. Research has shown that incorporating mindfulness into the way we eat may positively affect our health – both emotionally and nutritionally. Practicing mindfulness is a meditative technique that aims to bring about a deep connection to the food that we eat. This includes savoring, enjoying, and using all our senses.
Adopting mindful eating behaviors can prevent those feelings of discomfort or guilt commonly associated with mindlessly eating and can improve your overall health. Make your next dining experience more enjoyable and comfortably satisfying with a few tips of the mindful eating regimen.
- Chew Your Food Slower
When you eat slower, you are able to acknowledge your body’s cues and sense when you are full. Also you can find yourself noticing and experiencing new flavors and aid in digestion. Drink water between bites, which can help you feel fuller and prevent you from eating too fast.
- Eat While Sitting Down
An important step in practicing mindful eating is to eat while sitting down. Eating while standing may make it more difficult to pay attention to our hunger and fullness levels. Sitting down at a table enables us to bring full attention to the eating occasion, savor all the flavors, and actually enjoy the food.
- Minimize Distractions
Your environment can greatly affect your food choices and eating behavior. Create a healthy eating environment to minimize distractions. Put your phone away, close your laptop and turn off the TV. Find a comfortable place where you can sit and eat in peace.
- Question Where Your Food Came From
It is also important to become mindful of where your food comes from, which enables you to connect more deeply with your meal and help you discover and make healthier food choices. Ask: Who grew this? How did it get here? How was it prepared? Do my values agree with the ways this food got to my table?
By adopting more mindful eating behaviors, you can learn to respect your body and enjoy your food. So next time you plan to have a snack or meal, take these tips into practice to truly appreciate and savor your food!
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