Whether you’re at your computer munching on a bag of pretzels or watching television chomping on a bag of potato chips, or a few bites of your kid’s leftover meals, mindless eating is one definite way to pack on the pounds. In addition, just mindlessly eating 100 calories a day, can lead to consuming an extra 700 calories at the end of the week. Worse yet, keep eating an extra 100 mindless calories a day and you’ll be gaining up to 10 pounds in a year.
Mindful eating is a process of making peace with all foods, no foods are off limits, the focus becomes how you eat, not what you eat.
To prevent mindless eating and unintentional weight gain, follow these mindless eating strategies:
1. Write it down.
Food journaling is a great tool to use because it helps you discover the emotions that lead you to over snack or to overeat at meals. If you note in your food diary that you did overeat, ask yourself why, without being judgmental. What events or emotions triggered your eating?
2. Savor the silence.
Our daily lives are full of distractions. Consider making mealtime (especially with families), an electronics-free zone this includes silencing the cell phone. Focus on the taste of your food as well as taking the time to enjoy your family.This will allow you to check in with yourself so that you can stop when you’re satisfied.
3. Know your trigger foods.
Out of sight, out of mind. Make it a rule to keep your trigger foods out of your grocery cart and out of your house! Eat with your stomach, not with your eyes
4. Slow Down.
Take the time to enjoy the food you are eating. Try to slow down your eating my chewing your food about 15 to 20 chews or just enough number of chews to really savor the food in your mouth. Another technique is to eat with your non dominant hand because it requires more attention to coordination and placement. Set your fork down and take a 30 seconds to determine if you are still hungry or if you’ve had enough.
5. Eat only when hungry.
Eat only when hungry. Ask yourself if you are truly hungry before reaching for something. Try drinking a glass of water or some hot tea. If you are still hungry then eat, but try to eat until about 80% satisfied, not until you are stuffed. Aim to eat until your 80 percent full – any more will make you feel stuffed and any less will make you feel deprived.
6. Smaller Plates.
Portion sizes have increased in size over the years, just like our waistlines. To avoid this, check in
7. Avoid the Stomach Growls.
When you are ravenous, the more likely you are to overeat and consume more calories than your body needs and before your brain can register all the food you devoured. Try eating smaller frequent meals every 3 to 4 hours with a small snack in between meals if need. This way you are less likely to experience the powerful stomach growls.
Start out by practicing mindful eating by taking on one or two of these strategies and gradually add them into your eating plan. Mindful eating is a process of making peace with all foods, no foods are off limits – the focus becomes how you eat, not what you eat. You may find what you want to eat shifting dramatically for the better too. It can be practiced with chocolate or salad, cupcakes or oatmeal. You can practice mindful eating at home, at work, or even as you snack on the go. Chances are, you’ll not only gain a greater appreciation for your food, but you’ll find your habits changing in the process too. In no time, you will see, feel and taste the difference.
Benefits of Mindfulness
Five Strategies for Mindful Eating and a Healthier, Slimmer, You