How to Practice Better Eating Habits by Being More Mindful
Eating mindfully means you are putting yourself in control of how much you eat, and what you get out of your meals. You can lose weight, drop those sugary treats, eat healthier, or change any aspect of your diet you want.
We all live busy lives and eating can easily become just part of your daily routine. Most of us are distracted while eating and are not even aware of the nutritional content of our food. We just mindlessly shovel the food into our mouths and stop when the plate is empty.
By taking the time to stop and be mindful of what we are about to eat we empower ourselves to gain what we want from our food. We can look at the nutritional content, stop eating before we overeat, and enjoy the food a lot more.
Here are five ways to be more mindful at meal time and sync your mind and body with what you are eating.
Take a Moment to Think about Your Meal
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As you sit down to eat, think about what is in the meal in front of you. Are you eating healthy, did you put a lot of effort into the meal? Did you base your decision on what you are eating on factors outside of cost and taste?
You should be eating the right kind of food for your lifestyle. For example, if you workout a lot you need to prioritise carbohydrates and protein rich food. Otherwise you are going to lack energy and become run down. Food is fuel, you need treat your body like a high performance machine if you’re going to run optimally.
Remove Distractions from Meal Time
We are living in a culture of eating while watching TV, catching up on social media, and talking on the phone. Most people are in auto-pilot just forking the food into their mouths and not paying any attention.
The problem with this is that you can eat a meal and not feel truly satisfied because you were not present in the moment while you were eating. If you eat without distractions and spend time enjoying the food you are more likely to feel satisfied and full afterwards.
Use All of Your Five Senses When Eating
Eating doesn’t just involve experiencing the taste of the food. Take the time to appreciate how the food looks. There is a reason why experienced chef’s talk about food with passion, explaining the colors, the presentation on the plate and how the different foods blend with each other.
Smell the food before taking the first bite. Then savour the first few bites as the flavors hit your palate for the first time. Be mindful as you eat and ‘feel’ the experience of tasting, smelling, looking and feeling the food as you eat it.
Know When to Stop
As I mentioned in a previous point, you are more likely to eat more if you are distracted while eating. There is also a stage when you know you should stop eating if you are thinking clearly, yet you are enjoying the food so much you carry on.
The perfect point to stop eating is when you are comfortably full. The first time someone tries this they realize they are accustomed to eating portions much larger than they really need to eat.
Keep a Journal of What You Eat
The number one misconception from people who are trying to lose weight but aren’t succeeding, is what they have eaten. It’s not until they stop and think exactly what they eaten that they list foods they had forgotten about.
I’m not suggesting people are lying about what they have eaten. It goes back to the same point of not being mindful when eating. A simple fix for this is to keep a journal of what you eat. Then you can track the calories, portions, and recount how much your intake is changing as per your diet.
If you want to make changes that last, you need to start with small, manageable steps. Collect those small ‘wins’ and build up to larger changes. Then treat these changes as lifestyle habits, not just goals.
Goals are great, but how often after you reach a goal do you relax and go back to your old habits? Make lifestyle changes, enjoy the new you and enjoy being a work-in-progress.
Thank you for your time 🙂
Phil Ashton is a personal development coach and blogger. You can follow him at selfdevelopmentjourney.com, where he blogs about relationships, self-awareness, careers, habits and more.