Did you know that simply being mindful when you eat can help you to lose weight? There are two big reasons to be mindful when you eat:
- You will eat less and enjoy your food more.
- You will metabolize and burn food better rather than store it in your belly.
Study after study shows when we eat unconsciously, we eat more. In one particular study, participants were given snack food bags that automatically refilled from a secret compartment under the table. They were compared to people who just had a single bag full. The group that had the auto-refillable bags just kept eating.
Studies also show that when you eat in a stressed state, you store fat in your belly and don’t metabolize your food well. Same food, but eating this way creates more weight gain and inflammation.
Here’s what you can do to be more mindful and create better habits around food:
- Say a blessing of thanks before each meal-gratitude and prayer help focus the mind and bring you to the present.
- Always sit down and sit still-don’t eat while watching TV, talking on the phone, driving, standing or walking down the street with food in your mouth.
- Eat from smaller plates-eating out of a package, bag or container is a good way to overeat and eat unconsciously.
- Stop and breathe before eating-take 3-5 deep breaths in and out through your nose before every meal.
- Create a peaceful environment-soft light, candles, quiet music-all of these encourage attention, slow eating and pleasure.
- Chew each bite multiple times-you’ll improve digestion of your food and your enjoyment of it.
- Serve food before you put the plate on the table-leave the serving dish on the counter rather than in the center of the table.
- Don’t reward exercise by thinking, I just walked 3 miles, so I can have a (fill in the blank). Exercise is its own reward.You can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet.
- Don’t shop hungry-if you are hungry when you shop, you’ll likely buy more quick snacks, processed foods, and fewer fruits and vegetables.
- Buy in bulk-then put food into small bags or containers.
- Make your home a safe zone-don’t keep tempting junk food, poor quality snacks and processed foods in the house.