Eat mindfully. This is something that might sound really easy in theory, but in reality it’s not so easy. Especially in today’s world, where we are constantly multi-tasking, plugged in and chronically over-scheduled… taking time out of your busy life just to eat may seem like an impossible task!
What if I told you that Mindful Eating could change the way that you experience food and help you lose weight as well?
Think about it… when you eat for emotional reasons (ahem) do you really enjoy what you’re eating? Are you even thinking about what you’re eating as you inhale that bag of chips, chocolate cake or pint of Ben & Jerry’s? It’s only afterward that you think about it (and feel like crap). Ugh… do you really want to continue that cycle?
How about when you eat lunch in front of the computer?
Are you thinking about the food that you’re eating? Or are you thinking about what you’re looking at on the computer?
Perhaps you’re relaxing by surfing the web… while you eat.
I would wager that you’re not paying any attention to what you’re eating. Not only are you not fully enjoying your food, you may also eat more than you intended to because you’re not paying any attention to how much you’re eating and whether your stomach is full or not.
Or maybe you’re working through lunch…
and your stomach is in knots because work is stressing you out. Eating under stress affects your digestion with indigestion as the result. Oh yea and not paying attention to how much you’re eating.
There’s a double whammy here.
Perhaps your food was portioned out, but because your mind didn’t register that you ate lunch, two hours later you’re hungry again and hitting the snack machines (oops).
How about when you eat dinner or snack in front of the TV?
Again, you’re not thinking about what you’re eating, how much you’re eating or whether you’re full. There is an even more insidious problem that develops when you eat in front of the TV – a habitual link is created between eating and watching TV. Which means that every time you watch TV, you have programmed yourself to eat.
If you watch commercials on TV, you will note that there are a lot of food commercials on TV – especially for snacks and processed food. Why do you think this is? They are capitalizing on the fact that you eat in front of the TV and purposefully making you think that you should run into the kitchen and grab a snack and EAT it right now, whether you’re hungry or not.
Try taking time out just to eat – how long does it take anyway?
Start by eating away from the computer and turning off the TV. Sit down at the table, in a comfortable chair or even on the couch (with the TV turned off!). Really pay attention to the food on your plate and as you begin eating notice how it tastes, smells and feels in your mouth. Eat slowly and chew your food well. Put your fork down and catch a breath in-between bites. Enjoy the flavors and texture of the food that you’re eating. Take pleasure in the simple act of eating and the food on your plate.
- How does this food taste?
- Does it taste good?
- Is it satisfying?
- Are you treating your body luxuriously by eating this food?
I invite you to try this with food that is “bad for you” too!
That’s right, the kind of food that you beat yourself up over after you eat it. This is the food that you’re most likely to crave when you’re not hungry and inhale when you eat it – with the end result of binge-eating and feelings of shame (let’s avoid that shall we?).
If you really sit with the candy bar, cookie, bag of chips… and taste it to its fullest two things can happen:
1. It tastes delicious but you enjoy every last mouthful of it and you’re satisfied with less or
2. You decide it doesn’t taste as good as you thought it did. You may notice that it tastes ‘too sweet’ or ‘too salty’. Or you suddenly notice the artificial flavors or the cardboard like texture of something that was once your favorite food in the whole world.
I want to challenge you to slow down while you’re eating…
Unplug, pay attention to your food as you eat it – really taste, smell and feel the food, chew your food well and remember to breathe.
When you practice Eat Mindfully, you’ll automatically begin eating less and making smarter food choices. Which will certainly keep you on the right track if you’re trying to lose weight :).