02 Mar Must-Try Mindful Eating Techniques
By Valentine Reed-Johnson, RD, CDN, Contributing Blogger
Should we worry more about what we are eating, or how we are eating? “Mindful” eating is appreciating every bite, savoring every flavor, and allowing for a culinary journey when eating. This attention to your food can help promote moderation and weight loss, help calm an upset stomach, and so much more. But after years of eating one way, is it possible to re-train yourself how to eat more mindfully?
Why Do We Eat Without Thinking?
Multitasking is a major contributor to overeating. There has certainly been a change in society and a development of consuming food for the wrong reasons; boredom, a fast paced lifestyle, and anxiety being some of the major reasons. The definition of “meal” has become a loose term that few people follow regularly. Families don’t eat together; instead they eat separately in front of the TV, while on their phone, while reading a magazine. It’s harder to determine whether you’re hungry or full if your attention is elsewhere.
There are easy steps you can take to start eating mindfully. Here are two:
Eating at a slower pace can help you determine if you’re full. One way to slow down the pace is to set an alarm on your phone while you are eating for at least 12 minutes. Take a bite and put your fork down, take a sip of water. Try it- and let me know how you felt!
Grazing throughout the day, a small snack here and there, can make it difficult to determine fullness. Sitting down and focusing on one meal, and giving it the attention it deserves, is a way to remain mindful. Don’t forget it takes about 20 minutes for your body to send signals that you’re full!
Take a Deep Breathe…
Using food as a clutch due to anxiety and stress can lead to overeating. We often use food for the wrong reasons. Instead, consider using relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, napping, and journaling to relieve stress.
By learning how to determine when you are hungry or satiated, you will eat only when you need to. Getting back to what food is actually meant for, to nourish and sustain, is an important concept.
Valentine is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, currently working at a hospital in Westchester, NY. At the hospital she covers cardiac units, but eventually hopes to open up a private practice in Manhattan. Valentine believes in providing practical nutrition knowledge, encouraging others to think logically when it comes to their health. Follow Valentine on twitter or visit her website.