You’ve likely eaten recently, but were you paying attention to what you ate? Or did you zone out, quickly finish your meal and satisfy your hunger? You probably did the latter, if you’re like most people. However, taking the time to eat mindfully can stop us from overeating and make us healthier in the long run. This practice is called mindful eating.
Rooted in Buddhist teachings, mindful eating means only eating when you physically feel hungry. You don’t eat because the clock says it’s lunch or dinner time. Plus, you are consciously aware of every bite you take. Nutritionists say this practice helps people eat less food overall because your body has time to signal to your brain that you’re full and can help with emotional eating or binging.
How do you begin to practice mindful eating? Here are three tips to start:
First, eat more slowly. Don’t think of meals as a chore that must be accomplished. Instead, set aside the time to sit down and savor each meal. Chew each bite carefully, and give yourself time between helpings to see if you feel full.
Second, eat without distractions. We’ve gotten used to watching TV or scrolling through social media while we eat. For your next meal, turn off the TV and put away your phone. Focus on the food, and eat in silence.
Third, savor the flavor. Could you describe what avocado tastes like? The next meal you eat, take the time to savor each unique flavor and spice that has blended together to create the dish. If you’re eating with someone else, perhaps describe what you’re eating. This practice will make you enjoy each bite and will force you to slow down.
When you practice mindful eating, you’ll feel more full and satisfied.