How to be a Mindful Eater
In today’s society, it is easy to have an imbalance between hunger and actual food intake. Food is involved in just about everything we do. We celebrate, there’s food. We mourn, there is food. We get stressed, there is “comfort” food. This pattern continues with just about every emotional state. What makes this even more difficult is that food is delicious and can be hard to control.
Here are a few simple steps that can be taken every day to help make the connection between food and hunger and be more mindful about eating. In other words, eating when hungry and learning to stop when full.
1. Know when you are truly hungry
Think of the last time you ate. Were you hungry? Were you focused on feeding your body for energy or were you focused on “how delicious” the food was going to taste? Every time you have an urge to eat, stop yourself and ask the question "Am I truly hungry?". This will help you be mindful of how much you eat, and if it is truly necessary.
2. Focus on Fullness
On the flip side of focusing on hunger is focusing on fullness. Can you remember a time when you felt uncomfortable after you ate? Overeating may in fact lead to harmful health consequences. Take your time when eating, and drink water between bites. Put your utensils down in between bites and engage in conversation. Think of food as fuel and each time you eat you are fueling your body for the next few hours.
3. Savor the Flavor
Learn to truly taste your food. Most of the times, after the first few bites food loses its flavor. If we are not careful we continue eating because of the thought of food and not it's actual flavor. Here is a good test. Take a small piece of chocolate like a Hersey's kiss. Unwrap the chocolate. Smell the chocolate. Set it on your tongue and let it melt while truly tasting it. Notice the texture, the taste, the smell. Once it dissolves, do it again. See if you can savor every bite.
Without Mindful eating we tend to eat when it is not necessary, and overeat often, resulting in unhealthy habits. Focusing on hunger, fullness, and truly tasting foods will help you to get back in touch with your true needs and avoid over-indulging.
Practice these tips and you will notice a difference in how you feel mentally and physically. Enjoy, but in moderation!