If you really want to make a difference in your health, stop worrying so much about what you eat and start paying attention to how you eat.
Mindful Eating is:
- a peaceful eating relationship with food according to your body’s needs
- eating to support your body’s natural healthy state
- balance, choice, wisdom, and acceptance
- eating consciously in a way to make our bodies feel well
- being aware of our surroundings, mind, body, and spirit
- being “in the moment”
Mindful Eating is not:
- measuring or weighing food
- restricting or avoiding foods
- counting fat grams or calories
- worrying about body size or the number on the scale.
The best way to get started is to slow down when you eat and chew your food more. By slowing down and enjoying our food more, we end up eating less.
Here are some tips to help you practice Mindful Eating:
- Before each meal pause and take a few long, slow, deep breaths.
- Have a few sips of water before you begin to eat.
- Put down your utensils between bites.
- Really taste your food- use all your senses. What is the texture, temperature, where on your tongue do you taste sweet or salty?
Instead of feeling like you have to ration your food, change your focus to eating the most nutrient dense foods you can find. Nutrient dense foods will have you feeling better, looking better and being more in control of your food choices and portions.
Ask yourself this, “What is the best choice I can make that will truly nourish my body?” Learn to listen to your inner wisdom about what’s right for you.
What Color Are Your Plates?
Be mindful of the way you serve your food, too. An article published in the August 2012 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research indicates that we need to pay attention to both the size and the color of the dinnerware we use as it impacts how much we even serve ourselves.
Even the color of a napkin can affect how you eat. What’s interesting is that in 1900 a dinner plate was a mere 9 inches. In 1950, plates were 10 inches and by 2010 had grown to a diameter of 12 inches.
Using smaller plates can be helpful. When you put food on a large plate, you almost automatically want to try to fill it up and then feel like you need to finish it all.
By using smaller plates (and bowls), you may find that you eat less but still feel comfortably full.
A multitude of studies show that when larger portions are put in front of us, we’ll consume up to 50% more than what we normally would. All those calories sure add up! Can you believe that just an extra 200 calories a day over the course of a year could add up to an extra 73,000 calories? This equals approximately 20 pounds! If you plan on snacking, place the snack in a small bowl or on a small plate rather than eating right out of the bag or container. This is a huge help so you’re more aware of how much you are eating and you can better manage your portions.
So, how does eating mindfully increase your metabolism? Because of the Cephalic Phase Digestive Response (CPDR).
Less awareness = overeating.
Digestion begins in your mind. Sounds crazy but when you think of food your mind starts the process of digestion. Experts have agreed that 30 to 40% of your digestive response is due to CPDR. So, if you aren’t paying attention when you eat you aren’t fully engaging this first phase of digestion. That means you end up with a metabolism that’s only working at 60 to 70% effieciency. You see, in order for you to be fully satisfied with your meal your brain has to register that you’ve tasted, smelled and enjoyed that meal. If you are mindlessly eating you aren’t giving your brain the chance to find satisfaction and you end up full but not satisfied. So you keep snacking.
Make a point to be fully present and aware while you eat. Slow down and use all your senses to enjoy your meal. You’ll naturally eat less and get much more pleasure and satisfaction out of your food.
If you’re ready to jumpstart your health and fitness goals be sure to check out the 30 Day Fit and Healthy Jumpstart Challenge