Eating With Awareness
We all have them, those irresistible foods that we can't seem to eat enough of. If we're not paying attention as we eat them — perhaps because we're watching TV or doing work at our desks — we may look down to find we've eaten three helpings of lasagna or an entire bag of chips.
One way to prevent this kind of overeating is to practice eating with awareness, or "mindfully." When you eat mindfully, your aim is to focus solely on the here-and-now experience of eating — the sight, flavor, texture, and aroma of the food, plus the thoughts and feelings you have as you eat.
This week, use the following tips to help you practice mindful eating:
• Eat only when you are seated at your kitchen or dining room table. Don't eat while watching television, reading, standing by the sink, driving, lying or sitting in bed, or doing anything else that requires your attention.
• Don't get carried away by the conversation. Of course it's nice to chat with company while you eat, but don't get so wrapped up that you forget to notice and enjoy your food.
• Before you start eating, take a few deep breaths. As you eat, put your utensil down between bites. Take time to really savor each mouthful.
• Take a moment to assess your hunger. Are you a little hungry? Moderately hungry? Ravenously hungry?
• As you eat, pause to check in occasionally with your hunger. Aim to stop once you feel satisfied rather than eating until all the food is gone. Push your plate away, and give your body 15 to 20 minutes to register whether or not you are still hungry before you eat more.
Over time, learning to eat in the moment will help you break free from mindless eating and make your meals more enjoyable and satisfying.