Eating mindfully is one of the most important practices you’ll use for eating appropriately for a weight loss or weight management diet. Often times we eat without a second thought and doing so could be seriously hampering progress.
In this article, I’ll discuss five of my favorite techniques for eating mindfully so that you can better control your food intake for a more efficient diet.
One of my favorite methods for eating mindfully is to time my meals and to ensure that I stick to that time. You might be thinking that eating as quickly as possible isn’t the best idea, and I’d have to agree with you.
To be clear, I’m not talking about eating as quickly as possible. Rather, I’m talking about setting a timer for around 15-20 minutes and extending the time it takes to eat food, making sure that I’m still eating once the timer goes off.
By setting a minimum amount of time that you’ll need to eat food, you’ll be required to pay attention to what you’re eating and how quickly you’re eating it. Further, using this method will help you have better control over how much you eat while also being able to notice changes in your body when you become full. Doing this might enable you to better manage food intake at other times, when you can’t time yourself.
I suggest setting a timer for 15-20 minutes and slowing your eating down so that you force yourself to take things more slowly and to also pay attention to the food you’re eating.
Split Meals Into Smaller Portions
When you finally get to have a full meal such as breakfast, lunch or dinner, I suggest that you break those meals up into three even portions. When you do this, you can eat one portion at a time, while taking a short break in between.
By breaking your full meal into three portions, you have the opportunity to eat a good amount of food and then reevaluate if you’re hungry or not. In my experience, I’ve found that saying no to extra food is much easier if it’s not all in front of you at once.
To use this method, I suggest that you take a full meal and split it into 2-3 smaller portions, depending on the size of the meal. Once you’ve finished one portion, reevaluate whether you’re hungry or not and then wait a while, eat or save the remaining portions, based on how you feel.
Eat Consciously (Without Television Or Distraction)
Today, most people don’t have much time to stop and eat, let alone sitting down at the table to eat their food; however, doing so might actually be a powerful tool for eating mindfully.
As humans we’re quite bad at multitasking consciously. Indeed we can complete multiple tasks at once like talking and driving a car, but to truly pay attention to one specific thing, we need to do so without distraction.
When you eat dinner while watching television, it becomes increasingly more difficult to recognize when you’re hungry and how much food you’ve eaten. Since you’re distracted, it’s likely that you’re consuming food quickly and in greater quantities than you should.
I suggest that at least a few times per week, you try eating meals with little to no distraction. During this time, pay attention to details of your food such as taste, color, texture and smell. Take it a step further and think about how it feels when you’re chewing, how long you can chew it for and how the food is changing what your stomach feels like, in terms of hunger.
Avoiding distraction and paying very close attention to all details of your meals is a great way to eat mindfully and to control your food intake.
Eat In Order
If you’ve read my other articles on this sort of topic, you’ll know that I’m a fan of structured eating. By this I mean eating meals in order of importance.
For example, if I were to make suggestions for eating at a restaurant, I’d suggest opting for a lean protein, some form of vegetable and then likely a carb source. While that’s a great starting point, I take this a step further.
When eating in this way, I structure meals based on order of importance and the likelihood of eating the ingredient when I’m full. For example, vegetables are extremely important, but if I’m not eating mindfully, it’s likely that I’ll opt for carbs first and then maybe veggies if I’m still hungry.
In this scenario, I actually switch things around. I eat my vegetables and protein first because I know they are the most important, but also the least satisfying in terms of taste and enjoyment.
However, by getting the veggies and protein out of the way, I know I’ll have eaten what I need to first. Not to mention, by the time I get to the less important carbohydrates, I may end up eating fewer of them due to feeling already quite full.
I suggest that you eat your meals in order of importance and likelihood of consuming the ingredient. The more important the ingredient and less likely you are to eat when full, the earlier you should eat it during the meal.
Take Regular Breaks During Meals
Eating constantly throughout a meal makes it quite difficult to notice when you’re full or when you’re simply eating for pleasure. I suggest taking regular breaks during your meals for a minute or two so that you can reevaluate whether or not you are still hungry.
Keep in mind that signals from your stomach to your brain take time. Cells in your stomach that secrete hunger hormones are sensitive to stretch, but if you continuously eat throughout a meal, it may be difficult for your body to recognize that the stomach is stretched and the extent to which it is stretched, until it’s too late & you feel uncomfortably bloated.
By taking regular breaks for a few moments, you’ll be able to consider how much you’ve eaten and whether or not you’re still actually hungry or if you’re just indulging in food.
Based on your answer, you can consider ending the meal or continuing to eat, based on how you feel.
5 Easy Ways To Eat Mindfully
Eating mindfully is one of the most important and easy steps you can take when attempting to eat more sensibly for a better body. Finding ways to pay closer attention to the types of food you’re eating and how much you’re eating will be the catalyst for an easy weight loss attempt.
Use these tips to eat mindfully and you’ll find that moderating your food intake becomes almost second nature.