Do you ever eat at one sitting a whole bag of potato chips or a sleeve of Oreo cookies or a pint of ice cream? Do you frequently feel “Thanksgiving full” too often after eating? Do you feel guilt or shame after eating? Do you just eat more than you want to? Mindful eating may help you develop a healthier relationship with food.
Mindful eating is simply paying attention to the food you eat, the flavor, the sensation in your body, thoughts, feelings and the source of the food. When you take a bite, try to give it your full attention. To me, eating mindfully means slowing down, expressing gratitude for the food I am eating, being satisfied with food, and paying attention to why I eat.
One benefit of mindful eating is feeling more satisfied and subsequently eating less. It’s a skill based on the Buddhist practice of mindfulness, and while it can be a tool to help you lose weight and improve your health, it does take some work to develop.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
Mindful eating may be challenging at first. It is important not to skip meals, especially breakfast. Try to include protein with the first meal of the day. You might want to try a whole wheat English muffin with natural peanut butter or whole wheat toast with an egg. It may also help to prepare breakfast at night or even try dinner leftovers for breakfast.
Another challenge may be breaking the habit of late-night eating. Start by turning off the TV or computer and try to find another healthy nighttime activity like reading, listening to music or a podcast, doing some yoga stretches, or meditating. Try to get more sleep by going to bed earlier.
Mindful eating is a skill that takes some time and practice to develop. Like all new habits, it takes motivation and commitment. Try one or two tips for a week. You will improve your relationship with food and feel better. Remember to savor each bite and make eating a new adventure.
Some recommended reading includes:
Your Atrius Health nutritionist can help you develop a mindful eating plan that’s right for you. Call 617-629-6444 today to schedule an appointment.