By Jody MacHugh, CBN, FNP-BC, RNFA
Has this ever happened to you?
You see a candy bowl on someone’s desk at work and before you know it, you’ve already eaten 5 pieces? You’ve finished an entire meal and didn’t even recall what it tasted like? You are stressed at work and suddenly find yourself reaching for potato chips to “make yourself feel better?”
These are all examples of mindless eating. Mindless eating is eating for reasons other than hunger. Perhaps you are looking to food for comfort or distraction, habit, or simply because it’s there.
Mindful eating is being touted as a way to lose weight and gain a healthier relationship with food. Mindful eating means paying careful attention to what you’re eating and your own reactions to it. That way, you enjoy it more and overeat less. It’s an approach to healthy eating.
The following are some strategies to help you incorporate mindful eating:
- Take deep breaths prior to each meal/snack. Ask yourself, “Am I physically hungry or am I looking to eat for other reasons?”
- Avoid distractions while eating. Turn off the TV, computer, and put your phone down.
- Sit down while eating, eat slowly and take small bites. It helps to put your fork down between each bite. This gives your brain a chance to recognize satiety BEFORE you become too full.
- Pay attention to the flavors, the texture, the scent, and how the food looks on your plate. Take time to enjoy it!
- Carry foods that you like and support good health, in the event that you are out and become hungry.
- Enjoy your food without judgement or criticism.
By taking small steps toward more mindful eating, you will gradually transform your relationship with food, your body—and with yourself.