Health & Fitness

5 Ways to Be More Mindful When Eating

When it comes to eating, it’s certainly not a race. Yet, do you ever feel as though you’re finished before everyone else has even gotten through half the meal? And, if so, are you already thinking about seconds or eyeing that buffet again? Being more mindful when eating has several benefits. Not only does it help you literally slow down, but it also makes you more in touch with portions, flavors, tastes, and textures.

When someone follows food rules, or a diet, instead of eating mindfully, chances are they eat without feeling hungry, or stop eating before (or long after) feeling full, she says. So, a fix? Mindfulness technique.

Train Yourself To Eat Slower

Time yourself and seeing how quickly you finish a meal. Then once you have that time in mind, try extending it by a few minutes at a time, and taking the time to notice and savor your meals. Keep track of your times in a journal to manage your progress. And, you can have a goal in mind. Let’s say: taking at least 30 or 45 minutes to finish a meal. Aim to work within that time frame, and adjust when necessary (like if you’re out with friends).

Eat When You’re Hungry

Had breakfast an hour ago but you’re in the mood for a little snack? Don’t deprive yourself if you’re really hungry. A tip? Drink a glass of water first, then see how you feel. (And, a few ways to stay more hydrated during the day for better health.) Do you just need a snack? Or a full meal? Asking yourself helps you tune in with what your body needs, instead of turning to food or calorie rules to decide what it needs.

Pay Attention To Your Cravings

Sometimes the body craves things because it’s not satisfied or it’s looking for a different fix elsewhere. Being mindful when eating can help sort the confusion. A tip? Lower your overall sugar intake, as sugar can spike those cravings and increase hunger.

Take Pauses

Yes, this might seem more orderly, but it could work until you’ve adjusted. To be more mindful, literally make yourself slow down by creating certain rules. For instance, say that after every three bites, you’ll put your fork down and wait a minute before eating again. Or, try eating foods with chopsticks that wouldn’t normally be eaten that way. Chopsticks can help you naturally slow down, as it takes more time to pick up the food and handle them with correct form. Or, take a sip of water between bites. (Or every couple bites.) This will fill your belly up and slow you down, increasing awareness of changing appetite levels.

Eat out with Friends & Family

Take a moment to actually appreciate that, instead of scarfing it down to go do something else. Eating out with Friends & Family will slow you down as you have conversations and interact with someone else. Though a warning: Sometimes we mimic others’ eating patterns. So, if you’re eating with friends and everyone is ordering nachos, fries, and double cheeseburgers, you don’t necessarily need to eat all that. Instead, go with what you’re craving and be mindful to engage in conversation and monitor portions. Don’t feel obligated to consume everything in sight just because others are doing it.

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