Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were working in the office, or sitting at home eating a bag of chips and when you look down, it’s suddenly disappeared? You’ve been so focused at whatever task at hand, to the point of finishing the whole bag of chips were without even noticing.
There are many ways to eat mindfully. It’s really important to know that mindful eating isn’t an all or nothing approach. You don’t have to practice every point mentioned below to be a mindful eater. Sure, it would be great if you can. But do the strategies that works best for you and your lifestyle. Like how I’d say choose exercise that you enjoy to keep you committed for the long term, choose mindful eating strategies that would actually help you to continue eating mindfully.
1. Grocery Shopping
Mindful eating can start in the grocery store! Fill your cart with whole, clean and processed foods. Visit the fruits and vegetable aisles. If there’s a healthy or organic section, go there as well. It’s best to always avoid the aisles where most of the candies, chocolates, chips, sodas and canned juices are to avoid the temptation. On a side note, don’t go grocery shopping when hungry. This was a mistake I used to do, and it led to fill the carts with the wrong foods!
2. Eat with an appetite and not when starving
If you come to the table when you’re starving, chances are your going to eat everything and anything in front of you, in a big portion too. It’s really important to start eating your meal when your hungry, but not to the point of being starving. So to avoid that it’s best to eat regularly throughout the day and drink lots of water.
3. Control your portions
You know when I said find something that works best for you? Portion control was the first thing I started with, and definitely the most effective (at least for me it was). When I started to control my portions, not only did it change my physical appearance, it made me realize how much food I was eating in an unnecessary quantity.
4. Eat slow
When eating, especially if extremely hungry, it can be easy to eat fast to satisfy your hunger as quickly as possible. This is not best practice to be fair. It’s really important to take your time and eat slow. It takes 20 minutes for the brain to realize your full. By eating slow, you’re actually doing yourself more of a favor because the slower you eat, the quicker your brain will tell you that you are full. So you’ll stop sooner which usually means consuming less food.
5. Chew more
The more you chew your food, the better you’ll be able to digest the food and absorb the nutrients. If you think you can use the strategy of counting the number of times you chew, then aim for chewing 30-40 times before swallowing. Otherwise, just aim to chew more.
6. Take small bites
I found myself doing this a lot in the past, and still find myself doing this now. But I’ve definitely learned to take smaller bites, whether using a spoon, fork or biting from a sandwich. When you take smaller bites, not only will you taste your food more but you’ll also be able to chew more. You’ll hit 2 mindful eating strategies in one go!
7. Don’t stuff yourself
I always tell my clients to walk away from the table once they feel satisfied. My words are the same to you. When you learn to notice the feeling of satisfaction and are able to walk away from the table, or stop eating, you’ll take one more leap toward your physical goals. It will make you realize how much extra and unnecessary food you are eating, and how much food you actually need. As John Berardi from Precision Nutrition says, ‘eat to 80% fullness.’
Mindful eating is healthy eating. It makes you more aware of choosing the right foods and making better food decisions. By understanding your physical and mental experiences with food, you can have more control over your nutrition and allow you to live a healthier and happier lifestyle😊