This post is the first of a five-part series on mindfulness, and it tackles the inescapable struggle of weight loss. When it comes to losing weight, you may assume you need to muster up a huge amount of willpower and force yourself to stick to a diet through sheer discipline. But this isn’t always the case. Instead, you can start your weight loss journey by eating more mindfully.
What is mindful eating?
Mindful eating is a relatively simple technique that helps you gain more control over your eating choices and habits. It’s based on the Buddhist concept of mindfulness, which calls for you to bring your full attention to the present moment. With mindful eating, this means paying close attention to your cravings and other physical cues when eating. Instead of automatically falling into old eating habits, mindful eating helps you make more conscious, healthier choices.
Tips for Eating More Mindfully
Listen to your body.
Before you even start eating, take a moment to really, truly listen to your body. Are you hungry – or is it something else that’s making you reach for a chocolate bar? Know your body’s hunger signals so that you can tell the difference between snacking out of boredom or stress and actual hunger.
Listening to your body will also help you notice when you’re full, so you can stop eating before you get to that miserable, “Stuffed” feeling.
Eat more slowly.
Once your food is in front of you, there’s no need to dive in and devour every last bite – your food isn’t going anywhere! Eat slowly to give your body time to catch up to your brain. It actually takes about 20 minutes for the “I’m full” signal from your brain to reach your body, so slowing down can keep you from overeating.
To help you eat more slowly, try taking smaller bites, chewing each bite 25 times, and setting your fork down.
Cut down on distractions.
Have you ever stood in your kitchen with a pint of ice cream, scrolling through Instagram while eating a few spoonful’s of Ben & Jerry’s – only to look down at an empty pint? Distractions are the epitome of mindlesseating. To cut down on mindless eating, you must also cut down on distractions. Don’t try to multitask during mealtimes. This means turning off the TV and putting away your phone. Instead, tune into your body and savor the food you’re enjoying – this is one of the best parts of eating mindfully!
Savor every bite.
Speaking of savoring your food, did you know that you’ll actually feel fuller and more satisfied at the end of a meal if you simply pay more attention to what you’re eating? By eating mindfully, you’ll notice textures and flavors you probably haven’t noticed before, even in foods you’re familiar with. And more satisfaction means you’re less likely to overindulge or immediately start looking for something else to “fix” that craving. Really enjoy your favourite food and feel satisfied instead of guilty.