Eating is the most stressful thing that we to do our bodies every day. The actual act of eating is second nature to us, and something that most people don’t think twice about. Like breathing. Yet how most of us are eating is linked to digestion issues, weight gain and more.
Experts refer to the art of eating well as Mindful Eating. By bringing awareness to your current habits around how you eat and then making some simple changes, you can see positive changes in health & wellness.
To begin with, it is important that you learn to eat slowly. At first, this might be quite a challenge. We have been conditioned to live in a fast food world. We rush meals in order to have time to run to soccer practice, to a piano recital, or to school and work. We think that rushing saves us time—but such a routine can easily backfire, leaving us with unwanted pounds. Studies have shown that at least 10 minutes is required before the brain receives the message that the stomach is full. This means that you could be eating long after you are actually satiated.
Your meal—whether it’s in the morning, afternoon, or evening—should last at least ten minutes. Train yourself to lengthen your meal by engaging in conversation, resting your fork between courses, chewing slowly, and drinking plenty of water between courses. You should also wait at least ten minutes after your main meal before deciding if you need seconds.
You should always eat sitting at the table. This prevents you from trying to engage in multitasking, such as surfing the ‘Net, watching television, or flipping through magazines while you eat. At the table, you’ll be forced to concentrate on how much food you are putting into your mouth. If you eat anywhere else, you may lose track of how much food you’re consuming.
And don’t forget to sit down. Eating standing up causes digestive stress.
Abandon the idea that you must clean your plate. It is simply not true. Research has shown that more than half of adults insist on cleaning their plates, even when they are already full. This means that you are overeating simply out of politeness. Such a habit only serves to add unwanted pounds. Instead of cleaning your plate, try eating only that portion of food that makes you feel full. You’ll be healthier and happier that way.
Do not keep food in plain view during the day. If the cookie jar is open or the pretzel bag is out on the table, you’ll have a tremendous urge to eat, even if you are not hungry. After a meal, put your food away in the refrigerator, inside your cupboard, or in the Lazy Susan. This way, you’ll actually have to do some work to get at food before you consume it.
You may be self-conscious at first as you attempt to change your eating habits. Realize that your bad habits did not start overnight, so it will take some time to correct them. But just start making one change at a time. Your wellness journey is about progression, not perfection. If you need guidance and support for adding healthier habits to your day, then you’ll want to download my free healthy habits tracker.