Top 5 Essentials to Mindful Eating

Top 5 Essentials to Mindful Eating

mindful eating

Top 5 Essentials to Mindful Eating

At Living Health Integrative Medicine we talk a lot about what foods we should eat and the quantities of those foods but one critical piece is missed often. That critical piece is how we eat. All too often, meals are eaten in front of the television, in the car, standing, etc. Sound familiar? Not taking the time to eat properly can cause over eating and even digestive issues. Mindful Eating is a practice that should go hand in hand with choosing the right foods!

What is Mindful Eating? It’s eating with awareness, being present for each sensation of the experience of eating. When you are mindful, you are present. You are more aware when you are hungry and full. Mindfulness can help you break away from routine eating habits by being aware of your thoughts and feelings and understanding why you are eating at that time. Below are 5 tips to help you eat more mindfully.

1. Mindfully Check In and Assess Your Hunger/Fullness Feeling
Before and during your meal assess your hunger level. Remember, it takes 20 minutes for your brain to register that you are full. Stop eating before you get that full feeling. You should feel comfortable getting up from the table and not like you need to lie down and take a nap!

2. Breathe
Take a deep breath before you start eating. Remove all distractions from the table, be fully present and observe your plate. Observe the foods that you are eating, their benefits, their origin and how they were prepared. This will get you in the right mindset and trigger your brain to start the digestion process of releasing more saliva and enzymes to break down your food.

3. Chew Slowly and Savor
The more you chew your food, the less work your stomach needs to do to breakdown your meal. You should aim to chew each bite 30-45 times. Savor the food you are eating, notice the texture, aroma and flavor. Place your utensil down after each bite and eat with your non-dominant hand to slow down.

4. Be aware of Your Environmental Cues
Certain environmental triggers can promote overeating. Don’t use oversized plates or glasses. Avoid eating from a bag/box or container. “Family-style” and buffets promote larger portions and seconds and third portions.

5. Journal
Journal your food intake for 7 days. Include the foods you are eating, portion size, time and rate your hunger level and mood. This will bring attention to you your eating habits and triggers that may cause you to make poor choices or over eat.