Mind Over Platter: How to Be a Mindful Eater

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April 18, 2013 by thehealthyheartcenter

Most of us are so focused on what we eat, that we are completely unaware of how we eat. Mindful eating involves paying attention to the full experience of eating and drinking, both inside and outside of the body. The importance of this is that it helps us to follow healthy behaviors, and keep from excessive, mindless eating habits.


Think of the times we have finished off an entire bag of chips, continued picking at food while cleaning up the dinner table, or instantly grabbing a snack when bored or watching TV…. all of these behaviors are mindless. Because it takes the brain about 20 minutes to realize that the body is full, it is important to be as conscious and aware as we can.


Try these easy tips to become more mindful:

1. Use smaller plates: larger plate = larger meal. Choose your salad plates or buy more proportionate ones in order to control how much you can serve yourself.


2. Practice taking smaller bites, and eating slower: You know those times when you are just so hungry that it can be compared to a ravenous feeling? As soon as you have a meal in front of you, “mindfulness” goes out the window and you’ll end up eating much faster, and a much larger portion. It’s not a race, completely chew your food!


3. Avoid eating in front of or while doing anything distracting: TV, computer, video game, talking on the phone, and driving all can lead to mindless eating and excessive portions.


4. Keep food off the table during meals: Portion it all out, then sit down to eat. Avoiding having food in front of us also keeps from constantly adding extra helpings to our plate.


5. Out of sight, out of mind: Keep tempting snacks and candies out of sight, especially anything that may be a trigger food for you (one that you cannot control yourself around: chips, ice cream, chocolate, etc.).


6. Differentiate between hunger and dehydration: The feeling of dehydration mimics the feeling of hunger. If you think you are hungry but aren’t sure, drink a glass of water and wait 20 minutes. If you are truly hungry, the feelings will intensify.


Speaking of water…..

Try this exercise to become more aware of the feeling of an empty stomach, and a full stomach: Pour yourself a 20 oz. glass of water, drink half, and concentrate on what it feels like in your stomach. Then drink the other half. You should notice an immediate difference. The water stretches the stomach and produces the feeling of fullness.


For more information on this topic visit http://www.mindlesseating.org


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Dr. Wali Gauvin

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