Mindful Eating: Tips to Stay Aware
Staying aware while eating, or “awake behind the wheel,” is a crucial factor to your weight loss success. Eating mindfully presumes awareness – paying attention to physical hunger and satiety cues. Here are some tips to mindful eating:
- Food journal. It forces you to stay in the moment and pay attention to what you’re eating.
- Eat slowly. Put your fork down, engage in conversation, or have a sip of water after every few bites. It takes at least 15 minutes from your first forkful to your last for your brain to register fullness.
- Remove all judgments of yourself or the food you eat. You, nor your food, is never all “good” or “bad.”
- Avoid late night eating when your body is least likely to be hungry and you are most likely to mindlessly eat.
- Differentiate physical cues of hunger – they start in your stomach or head – from external factors influencing you to eat.
- Recognize what it feels like to be satisfied, not stuffed.
- Pay attention to the flavors, textures, aromas in your food. Notice when foods are too salty or too sweet.
- Ask yourself how food affects your emotional state.
- Explore other ways of handling uncomfortable emotions for you (stress, sadness, loneliness, anger, frustration, etc) rather than eating. Paint your nails, go on a walk, call a girlfriend on the phone, etc.
- Turn off the TV while you eat.
Lastly, imagine what it would be like to regain control, eating when hungry and stopping when satisfied. Mindful eating is a practice, so give it the time and patience any new activity takes to learn!
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