Here’s a weight-loss strategy that doesn’t require weighing your food, counting carbs or grams of sugar — it’s called mindful eating.
It might sound a little simplistic but creating an awareness of how you feel when you eat can help you eat less and possibly help you choose more nutritious foods. Research suggests that when people practice mindful eating they are less likely to eat as a reaction to stress or other emotions.
Most people eat mindlessly at some point in their lives. Mindful eating is about becoming aware of when you’re eating habitually out of stress or anxiety. When you’re aware, you can start to control your eating, health experts say.
Here are five tips to help you start mindful eating as a weight-loss strategy.
- Focus on the food. One of the worst things we can do when we’re eating is to sit in front of the TV during dinner. It’s the same thing with any computer or other device. If you’re watching a screen, you’re not paying attention to your meal. Within minutes, you can finish dinner without even thinking about it. A good place to start is to turn off electronic devices when you’re eating.
- Take a deep breath. Pause for a moment before you start eating. Recognize that in this moment, you’re about to eat.
- Savor each bite. Eat slowly so you can taste every flavor. Think about how your meal smells, feels and tastes as you eat. Notice how quickly you’re eating. Are you putting the fork down between bites? Do you feel rushed to eat as fast as possible.
- Listen to your gut. Pay attention to how hungry you feel. You may not need to finish everything on your plate before your hunger fades. If you feel like eating more, is it because you’re hungry? Is there another reason why you want to eat more. Practice portion control by staying aware of your hunger level.
- Be aware of your food choices. Are you choosing healthy foods to eat for lunch or are you choosing something from a drive-thru window? Ask yourself if you’re choosing foods for their nutritional value or for how they taste. Staying aware of why we make our choices can help us make better ones.
+ You can learn more about changing your relationship to food at Bon Secours Weight Loss Institute.