According to a 2011 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average American spends around two and a half hours a day eating, but more than half of that time, we’re doing something else, too, usually working, driving, reading, watching television, or playing on an electronic device, so we’re not fully aware of what we’re eating.
And this mindless eating – a lack of awareness of the food we’re consuming – may be contributing to the national obesity epidemic and other health issues.
Research shows that mindful eating can lead to greater awareness of how and why you are eating. This enhanced awareness may reduce “mindless eating” and subsequently help with weight management.
Simply put, mindful eating is learning to pay attention, so instead of eating mindlessly, putting food into your mouth almost unconsciously, not really tasting the food you’re eating, you notice your thoughts, feelings, and the look, smell, taste, feel of the food you’re eating.
Here are some tips that you can use to start eating more mindfully:
Begin with your shopping list
Consider the ingredients and health value of items you add to your shopping list and stick to it to avoid impulse buying when you’re shopping.
Eat when hungry but not when ravenously hungry
If you skip meals, you may be so eager to eat that your first priority is filling the void instead of enjoying your food and eating healthily.
Start with a small portion
It may be helpful to eat off a smaller plate, so your portions look bigger or just reduce portion sizes.
Appreciate your food
Pause for a minute or two before you begin eating to contemplate everything on your plate and what it took to make. Silently express your gratitude for the opportunity to enjoy delicious food and those who aren’t so fortunate. Take small bites and eat slowly It’s easier to taste food when your mouth isn’t full, and you take your time eating.
Chew well until you can taste the essence of the food. You may be surprised at all the flavours that are released.
It’s not enough for us just to eat and not think about what we eat. The most important part of eating is taking time to think about what we put in our mouths, to eat our food slowly and to savour what we eat.
It’s also important we think about and chew our food properly so that we’re not rushing eating. Eating slowly also helps with digestion and promotes better health. It’s also what mindful eating is about.
Sources: www.health.harvard.edu www.huffpost.com