Ever sit down on the couch with a bag of chips and start snacking while watching TV? You look up a few minutes later and realize that half of the bag is gone and you ate way more than you intended. Believe it or not, this is way more common than you’d believe.
This type of mindless eating is terrible, not only for your health and waistline, but it can also quickly sabotage your weight loss efforts. Many people find that eating mindfully can help minimize the risk of overeating and to keep them on track. But what exactly is mindful eating?
Mindful eating is a way of eating that helps you to slow down and be careful about what you eat. According to The Center for Mindful Eating, this practices allows you “to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation.”
Mindful eating helps you determine which foods you enjoy and those you dislike, while becoming more aware of hunger and fullness cues. In the long run, being more conscious of these cues helps you to stop eating when you are full and avoid eating when you aren’t hungry.
Here are four ways that you can practice more mindful eating:
- Avoid watching TV while eating: And not just watching TV; distracted eating makes it very easy to settle into a pattern of mindless eating. Sit down at the table, and focus on what you are eating. Being distracted makes it more difficult to determine when you are full and when you are eating out of boredom.
- Eat when hungry and stop when full: This is actually trickier than it sounds. For a few days, pay attention to how you feel before you start eating and throughout the meal. Are you actually hungry, or just bored? Try only eating when your stomach is rumbling and look for signs that you are full. Remember, you don’t need to finish everything that’s on your plate.
- Eat with others at set times and places: This may mean putting an end to eating directly out of the fridge or over the sink. Take the time to put your food on a plate and bring it to the table. Eating out of cabinets in the kitchen makes it easy for extra food and calories to sneak in. A bite here and a bite there can really add up. It can also help to establish a family mealtime where everyone eats together to make it a more enjoyable time.
- Consider where your food is coming from: Grocery stores and processed foods make it easy to forget where food actually comes from. Taking a moment to acknowledge all of the people who worked to provide this food; the animals who gave their lives; and the plants, soil and water that went into growing your produce can help you reconnect to what you are eating.
Mindful eating is a simple, yet powerful way to help you eat less and lose more weight. Talk to your Medifast counselor for more easy ways to practice this great habit for weight loss.