Mindful Eating

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Let’s face, it  we all eat on impulse from time to time.  It’s helpful to recognize possible triggers to mindless overeating and stay on track with a healthy eating plan. Here are 10 takeaways to help practice mindful eating and walk away from temptations.

  1. Think about why you are eating. Are you eating because you have an empty stomach or physical hunger? Do you WANT to eat to soothe emotions such as boredom, loneliness, stress, happiness or anger? Do you WANT to eat for the taste? For example, you see a cookie and want to experience the flavors of the chocolate chips and walnuts?
  2. Use the hunger cues your body is sending you to decide when to eat and when to stop eating.
  3. Wait 20 minutes after finishing what is on your plate to decide if you are still hungry. This gives your stomach time to tell your brain that you are full.
  4. Eat slowly remind yourself that eating is not a race. Taking the time to savor and enjoy your food is one of the healthiest things you can do. You are more likely to notice when you are full, digestion will be better and you’ll begin noticing flavors you might otherwise have missed. Try eating with chopsticks as a fun way to slow things down.
  5. Turn off the TV and banish phones from the table. Many people eat with the TV blaring or play with their iPhone during meals. Make mealtime family time, or if you eat alone, make meal time a quiet time. Eat together, creating an electronics free atmosphere. Make eating in front of the TV the exception instead of the norm.
  6. Savor the flavor and sensations. The tangy and sour taste of a lemon, the spiciness of salsa, the crispiness a salad. Paying attention to the details of food can be a great way beginning to mindful eating. When you eat on the go, wolfing down a meal fast, it can be hard to notice what you are eating. Savor all the different sensations of eating a meal. Think more about the flavors and textures of food.
  7. Realize that you are in control of your food choices.
  8. Keep a food diary. Record your food choices and your emotions. This helps you make the connection between the two and helps you take notice of what triggers you to eat. Being near food? The influence of family or friends’ food choices? Food advertisements? Boredom, stress, loneliness? Record as much as possible, including sleep patterns.
  9. Routine Eating. Do you automatically snack every evening just because it’s time for your favorite show? Or do you eat based upon hunger cues? Ask yourself if you are really hungry or just in an “eating routine”.
  10. Cravings and emotions do not control your eating behaviors. You have complete power to walk away. Feel the emotion that is causing you to want to overeat and let it pass without giving in to temptation.
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