Do you often eat breakfast standing at the counter or in the car on the way to work? Are you taking phone calls, checking emails, or surfing the web during lunch? Are dinners usually eaten in front of the television? If this is a regular occurrence for you I challenge you to set a goal to work towards eating mindfully.
If you are distracted when you eat you are likely no longer enjoying your meal. Many people taste the first bite of whatever they are eating and then turn their focus away. If you are one the of the millions of Americans trying to lose weight then you should be trying to enjoy every single bite of food you put into your mouth.
To get started try choosing three meals this week to focus on mindful eating. Maybe get up 15-20 minutes earlier in the morning to give yourself more time for breakfast or turn off the television at dinner. Try to pick a meal where you won’t be interrupted by work or children needing you. Maybe put on some relaxing background music. Sit down at the table and do your best to focus only on your meal. Challenge yourself to taste every bite.
Try some of these techniques to help you slow down.
- Put your fork down between bites.
- Cut your food into smaller pieces.
- Chew each bite of food at least 8-10 times.
- Try using your non-dominant hand to eat.
Check in with yourself throughout the meal. When you are no longer hungry it is time to stop eating. Remind yourself that you can finish your meal another time when you begin to feel hungry again. Not only can this help you feel less stuffed and uncomfortable from over-eating, it may also help you have more energy throughout the day.
Jennifer Ackerman MS, RD, LDN, CDE
Owner, Nutrition Solutions Group