Stop and Savor the Moment—A Mindful Eating Exercise
The ideas and suggestions written below are provided for general educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice or care. The contents of this article are not intended to make health or nutrition claims about our products. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider before beginning any physical fitness or health and nutrition related activity.
Emotional eating: we all do it. Shovel food into our mouths without thinking, without even really tasting what we're eating. Sometimes we eat mindlessly because we're stressed, or tired, or overwhelmed, or bored. Sometimes we're just in a hurry. Whatever the reason, there is always another option--a way to be more mindful about what we put in our bodies, and to truly enjoy the food we consume.
The following suggestions walk you through a mindful eating exercise to get yourself in a better frame of mind when you eat:
Pause, and pay attention
Instead of ignoring the feeling of fullness and continuing to eat till over-full, tune back in to your body's hunger signals. Stop and listen to what your body is saying. Are you letting your emotions cloud your hunger signals, or are you genuinely hungry? And if you are hungry, how much do you think you need to eat to be satisfied?
Be truly present for the moment
Instead of rushing through your meal or snack, take the time to really savor it. Don't give in to mindless eating. Smell the food before you put it in your mouth, chew thoroughly, taste the flavors, feel the texture. It sounds simple, but you may need to make a conscious effort to do this at first. Slowing down has the added benefit of allowing time for the fullness signals to reach your brain, which helps prevent overeating.
Eat as much as you want, but no more
At the beginning of a meal, fill your plate with a small serving. You can always take a second helping if you need it, but a small serving will help you pause and decide if you actually need more food or if you're full. Remind yourself that in spite of what your parents may have said when you were growing up, it really is OK to leave food on your plate!
Choose food, not nutrients
Was that a tasteless "protein" snack you just had, or was it some yogurt with nuts or a delicious LUNA Rica Bar? Make the choice to eat real food. Your body will thank you.
Environment matters in mindful eating
To stop rushing when you eat, consider your environment. Take the time to sit down, to eat from a plate instead of a carton. Make your meal even more enjoyable by eating with others, or sitting out in the sun for lunch instead of at your desk. If your environment is pleasant and welcoming, you're more likely to spend some time enjoying your meal, too!