Common sense tells us that paying attention to what and how we eat helps us make beneficial food choices. Mindless munching can undo even the most valiant of Arc workouts. Eating while watching TV, working at one’s desk, driving to work, or texting your BFF can cause you to consume way more than you meant to eat. So here are some strategies to help you put your mind where your mouth is:
1) Invest time in your food. Many of us have become detached from food preparation. The more you are involved in creating what you eat, the more mindful you will become. Growing some vegetables, keeping some herb plants on your windowsill, shopping for ingredients, chopping vegetables, preparing pasta, and setting an attractive table can all contribute to eating wisely and healthfully.
2) Check in with your belly between bites. The mind and body work together when we eat. If your mind is distracted while eating, your brain may miss the signals that tell you you are satiated. Eating hastily while consumed by stress can affect your digestive process negatively, causing bloating, constipation, and gas. Allow yourself to enjoy what you are eating.
3) Tune out distractions. Put the cell phone down, turn off the TV, put the book down, and sit down, preferably in an area meant for dining. This will encourage you to focus on the food in front of you.
4) Step off the starvation treadmill. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, eating restrictively (especially when exercising regularly) sends the body into starvation mode and signaling you to eat—a lot. Smaller portions throughout the day at regular intervals keep you satiated and saner in your food choices. Using salad-sized plates help keep quantities reasonable.
5) Control cravings. Mindful eating does not mean depriving yourself of special treats you enjoy, but it does mean being honest with yourself. If certain foods trigger you to binge or lose control of your senses, try to find an alternate treat instead.
6) Be realistic. Despite all of our best planning, there will be occasions when life gets in the way. You may find yourself having a sandwich at your desk or a snack in the car. Just be aware of that fact and take small steps to compensate. Try to slow down and chew thoroughly whenever possible. Plan a mindful meal at least a few times a week. Focus on the smell, taste, and textures of your food.
Once mindful eating becomes more habitual, you may find that staying slim is less of a struggle.
Guest Blogger and Fitness Enthusiast