Even without changing the foods you eat, this simple tip will have a big impact on your health and weight loss goals. When you improve how you eat, you’ll naturally improve what you eat.
Eating mindfully means being fully present for each bite, chew, sip and swallow. It’s being aware of your surroundings and what’s going on inside your body. When you engage your senses, you can connect with the present moment and learn to enjoy food in a more nourishing way.
Although “being mindful” is a simple concept, it can be extremely challenging in our fast-paced culture. That’s why it’s important to practice on a daily basis. Start by being mindful of your first three bites/sips. It’s this combination of awareness and small changes that produce effective and sustainable results.
When developing mindful eating habits, it’s important to recognize what urges you to eat. Are you eating to physically satisfy hunger or thirst? Or are you emotionally eating to fill an area of your life that feels incomplete?
With endless health tips, the pressure to make magazine cover meals, and a cultural obsession with analyzing food, it’s easy to find fault with what’s on your plate. Instead of enjoying food, you feel restricted with what you “should” eat and guilty about what you “shouldn’t” eat. The good news is, mindfulness makes eating enjoyable by teaching you to listen to your body instead of external sources.
Develop a Mealtime Ritual
Did you know that singing happy birthday makes cake taste better? Develop your own mealtime ritual to make your food special by cooking, breathing and expressing gratitude before you dig in.
Set up for success by creating a comfortable dining experience. Use soft lighting, soothing music, and simple table settings. An undistracted environment makes mindfulness easier, which promotes slower meals and prevents overeating. Unplug from technology, set the table, add flowers, light a candle, etc. Create a distraction-free zone so that you can focus on eating.
Check your posture while you eat. Are you slouched over or stiff as a board? Find a seated position that’s upright without being overly rigid. Let go of tension by breathing deeply into your belly and relaxing your shoulders down your back.
Take a moment before eating to give thanks for your food. Be grateful for the time, work and effort it took to get each ingredient on your plate.
Savor each bite by engaging your senses. Notice the colors, textures, scents, tastes, and sounds during meals. Using fresh herbs and spices, such as garlic, ginger, cilantro, and basil, is also a great way to boost flavor and heighten your senses. Put down utensils between bites and breath.
The act of chewing releases flavors that increase satiation and enzymes that increase nutrient absorption. That means more nutrients with less food. Challenge yourself to chew each bite at least 30 times.
Check-in with your body throughout the meal and stop eating when you’re about 80% full. It takes about 20 minutes for the body to signal satiation so eat slowly.