Four Tips for Eating Mindfully

Be mindful of how much you eat.

Mindless eating can lead to overeating and digestive woes. But when you eat mindfully, you tend to slow down and eat less – just enough so that you’re comfortable, not stuffed.

Even if you’ve never heard the term “mindless eating”, chances are good that you’ve experienced it. Can’t remember what you ate for dinner because you were so focused on the television show you were watching? That’s mindless eating. Ever finish an entire bucket of popcorn at the movies and ask yourself, “did I really eat all that?” That’s mindless eating, too.

What Happens When You Eat Mindlessly?

Mindless eating is what happens when you eat – and overeat – without really thinking about it. When you eat mindlessly, you don’t ask yourself if you’re truly hungry, or question whether your portion is too large, or if the food even tastes good to you. You just eat it. And that’s because you’re not paying attention to your body’s internal signals – like the ones that tell you that you’re hungry, or when you’re comfortably full. Instead, you’re responding other cues push you to eat and overeat. Maybe you’re stressed or anxious or bored, or you eat something that’s offered to you – even though you’re not hungry at all.

Mindless eating often leads you to take in a lot more calories than you should – and you may eat much too quickly, too. You may not chew your food thoroughly, which means you’re probably swallowing a lot of air while you’re gulping it down. And, during an episode of rapid-fire overeating, you may not immediately realize how full you are. That’s because it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to let your brain know that you’re full – and by that time you’ve already overdone it. So it’s no wonder that discomfort – in the form of indigestion or bloating – can set in.

So what would happen if you turned “mindless eating” around, and practiced more “mindful eating” instead?

What is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating is just what it sounds like. When you eat mindfully, you try to become more aware of your internal signals of hunger and fullness – which means really listening to your body. You become more in touch with the eating experience – which means you’re likely to enjoy it more while eating less.

Mindful eating means slowing yourself down and taking the time to appreciate how the food looks on the plate, how it smells, and how it tastes. If you’re with others, you take pleasure in their company – and if you’re eating alone, you take pleasure in being able to focus on your meal and enjoy it without distraction. The other benefit? By slowing down, you’ll learn to be satisfied with appropriate portions – which will help curb the tendency to overeat – and your digestive system won’t be overburdened. Not only will this help keep your calories in check, but it gives your system time to properly digest your meal, too.

How to Eat More Mindfully

  • Be mindful of why you eat. One of the first steps in eating mindfully is to become more aware of what triggers you to eat in the first place. Are you hungry? Tired? Anxious? Bored? While you’re noting that, also, rate how hungry you are on a scale of 1 to 5 – where 1 means “not hungry at all” and 5 means “I’m starving”. After a week or so, examine your patterns. If you often eat because you’re stressed – even though your hunger level is a “1” – you’ll want to find alternatives to eating to relieve your stress – like taking a walk, or calling a friend, or maybe practicing some deep breathing.
  • Be mindful of how much you eat. While you’re making note of why you eat, also make a note of how full you are after you’ve finished. Practicing portion control helps you to learn how much food it takes to satisfy your hunger – which might be a lot less than the amount you want to eat. Since we tend to eat whatever amount we’re served, start by serving yourself smaller portions than you usually do. And, learn to stop eating when you’re comfortably full – even if it means leaving some food on your plate.
  • Be mindful of how quickly you eat. Mindless eaters tend to eat quickly, so also make note of how long it takes you to eat a meal. If it takes you less than 10 minutes, make an effort to stretch it out to 20 minutes. Try putting your utensils down between bites, and practice chewing and swallowing each bite of food before loading up your fork with another bite.
  • Be mindful of how you eat. Are you eating on the go, or at your desk while you work, or while you’re watching television? If you are, it’s unlikely that you’re paying much attention to your meal, and more likely that you’re just gobbling it down. Instead, try to be mindful of how you eat, and take the time to sit down and enjoy your food. Put down a placemat, turn on some music, maybe even dim the lights. Relax and take your time – your digestive system will thank you.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Why ‘mindful eating’ might help you eat less

Mindful eating might help you eat less | Healthy Eating Advice from HerbalifeWant to eat less? Maybe it’s time for you to try ‘mindful eating’ – a simple diet idea that really works. Let me explain how you can ditch mindless eating and start eating mindfully instead.

Mindless eating often leads to overeating. When you eat mindfully, you can enjoy your food more – even when you eat less.

Even if you’ve never heard the term “mindless eating”, chances are good that you’ve experienced it. Can’t remember what you ate for dinner because you were so focused on the television show you were watching? That’s mindless eating. Ever finish an entire bucket of popcorn at the movies and ask yourself, “did I really eat all that?” That’s mindless eating, too. Mindless eating is what happens when you’re not really focused on what you’re eating – and when you’re responding to signals other than hunger that encourage you to eat (and eat and eat). Since mindless eating often leads you to take in a lot more calories than you should, imagine what would happen if you turned “mindless eating” around, and practiced more “mindful eating” instead?

What is Mindless Eating?

Mindless eating is what happens when you eat – and overeat – without really thinking about it. When you eat mindlessly, you don’t ask yourself if you’re truly hungry, or question whether your portion is too large, or consider whether your food even tastes good. You just eat it. And that’s because you’re not paying attention to your body’s internal signals – like the ones that tell you that you’re hungry, or comfortably full. Instead, you’re responding to all kinds of cues in your environment that push you to overeat.

Let’s say you were eating a meal, and your body told you that you were comfortably full. If you paid attention to what your body was telling you, you’d push your plate away – even if there were some food left on it. But if you were eating mindlessly, your signal to stop eating wouldn’t come from within. Instead, you’d rely on an external cue to tell you that the meal is over: there’s simply no more food on your plate.

Think of the last time you ate when you weren’t hungry, or ate more than you intended to. It happens all the time. You walk into a co-worker’s office and she’s got a dish of candy on her desk, so you grab a few pieces. You stop at a friend’s house to visit and you accept her offer of something to eat – even though you just had lunch. You don’t realize how many tortilla chips you ate with your cocktail until you realize the basket is empty. Mindless, mindless, mindless.

What is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating might help you eat less | Discover Good Nutrition | HerbalifeMindful eating, then, is just what it sounds like. When you eat mindfully, you try to become more aware of your internal signals of hunger and fullness, and also become more in tune with what triggers you to eat in the first place.

Once you do sit down to eat mindfully, you’re more “in touch” with the eating experience – which means you’ll enjoy it more and maybe eat less overall. You take the time to appreciate how the food looks on the plate, how it smells, and how it tastes. If you’re with others, you take pleasure in their company – and if you’re eating alone, you take pleasure in being able to focus on your meal and enjoy it without distraction. And as you eat mindfully and enjoy your meal more, you’ll learn to be satisfied with appropriate portions – which will help curb the tendency to overeat. Eating less is really a by product of mindful eating but, for some, it’s a wonderful benefit.

How to Eat More Mindfully

Be mindful of why you eat. One of the first steps in eating mindfully is to become more aware of what triggers you to eat in the first place. The idea here is simply to raise your awareness – not to judge yourself too harshly. An eating journal can be very helpful – when you feel the urge to eat, make a note of what triggered it. Are you hungry? Tired? Anxious? Bored? Also, rate your hunger on a scale of 1 to 5 – where 1 means “no desire to eat” and 5 means “an overwhelming desire to eat”. After a week or so, examine your patterns. If you often eat because you’re stressed, you’ll want to find alternatives to eating to relieve your stress – like taking a walk, or calling a friend, or writing in your journal. If you notice that your hunger level is almost always a “5” before you get around to eating, you’ll want to try to plan a bit better, and carry healthy snacks with you, like protein bars or fruit or a small package of soy nuts.

Be mindful of when you eat. Do you eat when you’re hungry? Or do you eat because the clock says it’s time to eat? Hunger is an internal signal and one you should pay attention to. Just because the clock says it’s time to eat doesn’t mean you should – unless you’re truly hungry.

Be mindful of how you eat. Are you eating on the go, or at your desk while you work, or while you’re watching television? If you are, it’s unlikely that you’re paying much attention to your meal. Instead, try to be mindful of how you eat, and take the time to sit down and enjoy your food. Put down a placemat, turn on some music, maybe even dim the lights. Relax and take your time.

Be mindful of what you eat. When you’re mindful of what you’re eating, it means you’re choosing foods that both nourish you and appeal to you. Rather than acting on impulse, take some time to think about what you’d like to eat, and what healthy foods will satisfy you. On the other hand, you’re not being mindful if you’re grabbing some fast food because it’s convenient, or a candy bar because it’s satisfying a momentary craving.

Be mindful of how much you eat. Practicing portion control helps you to learn how much food it takes to satisfy your hunger – which might be a lot less than the amount you want to eat. Since we tend to eat whatever amount we’re served, start by serving yourself smaller portions than you usually do. Dish up your meals in the kitchen rather than bringing serving dishes to the table – that way you won’t be tempted to eat more than your portion. You can try using smaller plates, which can make your portions look larger. And, learn to stop eating when you’re comfortably full – even if it means leaving some food on your plate.

Written by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND. Susan is a paid consultant for Herbalife.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

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