Seven Tips for More Mindful Eating
Nowadays, it seems like we're always on-the-go and it's a never-ending mad dash to get from one moment to the next. While a sense of urgency in our daily lives can help to maximize productivity and output, there are moments where taking a step back and slowing down can do the body and mind good, too. One place where it's critically important to slow down is at mealtimes. Not only is it nice to be able savor the flavor of your foods and really enjoy them or enjoy the company with which you dine, but there are actually scientific reasons to slow down, too. As you eat, chemicals are released that tell your brain that your stomach is full. Did you know that the process of registering satiety takes about 20 minutes? The faster we eat, the more we are likley to overeat (or eat more than our body actually needs). Slowing down helps make sure that you're only eating what you need to sustain your body.
We know that sometimes there just isn't enough time to slow down (maybe the restaurant took too long to prepare your food or your lunch break has been cut short), but if you've got the time to slow your meal down then go ahead and take a step back and savor it! Here are seven of our best tips and tricks for mindfully enjoying food:
- Sit down. Today's busy lifestyles make for constant multitasking and staying on the go. Often, this means grabbing meals while standing up, walking or even driving, which can make you more prone to want to overeat. Sitting down at the table before beginning to eat will help keep you mindful of your intake.
- Focus on smaller portions. It's true that we tend to eat what's put in front of us whether or not we're actually hungry. Set yourself up for success by only putting on your plate what you need to eat. Save and store the extra away for another meal or snack. When you don't see the food with your eyes, you're not going to feel deprived.
- Drink water. Down a glass of water before each meal and consciously sip throughout your meal. This will help fill you up and curb your appetite.
- Have a conversation. Converse with those around you. This will give you pause between bites and naturally draw out your meal.
- Dodge distractions. Avoid distractions like watching TV, scrolling through social media, or working at your desk while you eat. When you are distracted, you are less mindful of what you are eating. Focus, instead, on the meal at hand and save the distractions for afterwards.
- Chew thoroughly. Take smaller bites and be mindful of thoroughly chewing each one. Some people count to 20 or think the ABC's before swallowing a bite to help get them in the practice of chewing more thoroughly.
- Put your fork down. It may seem silly, but putting your fork down between bites works! Not only will this naturally draw out your meal, it also keeps how much you're eating at the top of your mind.
Go ahead and adopt a few or all of these tips as soon as your next meal. You'll be surprised at the difference just slowing down and savoring your food can make. Remember, we eat to live, not live to eat. So, savor the moments and the bites.
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