Do you eat extra bites of leftovers while you’re clearing up food from the table?
Do you often eat while doing other activities?
Are you ever completely stuffed and miserable after eating?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then you might have fallen into the trap of mindless eating.
The biggest side effect of mindless eating is becoming overweight or obese. Most of us only focus on what we need to eat, but we also must consider how we eat. Research suggests that a slower, more thoughtful way of eating could assist us with our weight concerns and possibly even direct us dowån a better path of making healthier food choices.
When you are a mindful eater, you are more aware of your actions, enjoy food more and recognize that you don’t need as much food. Mindful eating has its roots in Buddhist teachings. Just as there are forms of meditation that involve sitting, breathing, standing and walking, you can also meditate with food. Meditating with food involves blocking out all other activities, eating slowly and deliberately and savoring every bite of your food.
Being a mindful eater can lead to better digestion. If your mind isn’t focused on the meal, your digestive process may be 30 to 40 percent less effective. This can contribute to issues such as gas, bloating, and bowel irregularities.
Here are some tips for being a more mindful eater:
* Practice slowing down while eating. Aim for a 20 minute meal -- it takes that amount of time for your brain to register that you’re full.
* Chew your food well (15 to 25 chews).
* Avoid eating in noisy, bright areas, as we tend to eat more in these environments.
* Eat with chopsticks or your non*dominant hand. This forces you to concentrate on your coordination skills and slows down the eating process.
* Pause in the middle of the meal for at least two minutes.
* Savor every morsel of your meal. Food tastes so much better when you take the time to enjoy it.
* Eat without the television, newspaper, computer, radio, mp3 player, cell phone, or while driving since we tend to eat more when we combine activities together.
* Portion out your food ahead of time and keep the extras off the table.
* Use small, decorative plates and skinny glasses to avoid eating or drinking too many calories.
* Keep tempting snacks out of sight and out of mind.
* If you think you’re hungry but aren’t sure, wait a bit. If you are physically hungry, the feelings will become more intense with time. If you are emotionally hungry, the feelings most likely won’t intensify.