Mindless Vs. Mindful Eating


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Eating is not just a way to provide our bodies with nutrition. It's actually a complicated interplay of memories, food preferences, family teaching or examples, and daily patterns or habits. When it comes to weight loss, one of the most important of these habits is the practice of mindless eating.

Mindless eating is eating without paying attention. The lack of attention can center around what you eat, when you eat it, where you eat it and - most importantly - how much you eat. When you eat mindlessly, you may not even notice the taste of the food and you certainly don't notice how much you swallow. It's particularly easy to eat processed food in a mindless fashion, as these foods are typically not very filling and often come packaged in multiple serving containers (think potato chips or crackers).

Typical mindless eating behaviors include: filling your plate with food no matter how hungry you are, matching your eating pace to that of someone else, always eating a full serving or a serving with more calories than you need, and eating from a bag or box instead of portioning out a serving and putting the container away. Mindless eating often occurs when food is consumed while doing something else, like watching television or reading.

To become a mindful eater, you must change your habits. Clean up the environment - no candy dishes, no visible snack foods. In fact, if you can't resist snack foods, don't buy them, even if it means getting someone else to do your shopping. Control portion sizes by using a smaller plate and actually measuring the servings. Eat slowly and never eat in front of the television or while reading. Finally, eat real foods, which have more nutrients and fiber.

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