Focus on your food: Prevent weight gain caused by mindless eating

We have all been caught up reading emails or watching TV while eating, only to look at our plate and notice we’ve finished our meal in what felt like no time at all. Mindlessly eating throughout the day can lead to overeating. Check out these tips to start focusing on your food and prevent unwanted calorie build-up.

 

What is Mindful Eating and How to Practice It

 

Mindful eating is when we put our full attention to the experience of eating and/or drinking – such as, the appearance, taste, texture, and aromas. When we don’t focus on the act of eating, our brain does not always “connect” with our body and recognize that we are full; or that we even ate at all!

 

To truly enjoy your food, and still lose or maintain a healthy weight, try these small changes:

 

Before opening your pantry or taking a bite, ask yourself: “Am I really hungry?”

 

If you are physically hungry you should fuel yourself properly with healthy calories. If not, you may only be craving certain foods or your “hunger” is driven by emotion.

 

When you are hungry, ask yourself “what do I want to eat now?

 

Think about what you prefer to eat now. When you follow these preferences you will be less likely to needlessly snack on unsatisfying choices.

 

You CAN eat mindfully.

 

Use the CAN method  eat foods that are Convenient, Attractive, and Normal. For example, put a colorful bowl of fruit on the counter instead of in the fridge to keep it convenient, and attractive, and be sure to fill the bowl with fruits you enjoy or commonly eat (normal).

 

5 Ways to Increase Mindfulness during Your Meals:

  • Look at each bite of food before you put it into your mouth.
  • Chew your food s-l-o-w-l-y (or for at least 10 seconds).
  • When multitasking, try to alternate eating with whatever activity you are doing – in other words, don’t read and eat simultaneously.
  • Try to fully focus on the first four sips of your morning coffee, tea, or fruit juice, and take in its appearance, smell and taste.
  • When eating, stop and focus on how full you feel. Try to eat until you feel satisfied, not stuffed.
Meghan Rath

Meghan Rath

M.S., CSCS, HFS is a HealthEase Fitness Manager with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from West Chester University. She is also ACSM and NSCA certified.

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