Practicing mindfulness while eating

Learn to be a mindful eater and avoid eating without realizing.

Do you eat while watching TV or sitting at your desk preparing for your next meeting? Do you eat while driving? Do you eat and then wish you had just one more bite of your food? If yes, then you’ve been eating mindlessly and unconsciously.

Many of us eat while watching TV, driving, working and even multi-tasking. When we do this, we are not paying attention to what goes in our mouths. This can cause us to miss the clues of fullness and satiety and can leave us with a feeling of over-fullness, making for a miserable feeling afterward.

Eating should be a pleasant experience with the purpose of nourishing our bodies. To achieve that, mindful eating is a skill that can be practiced. Mindfulness includes paying attention and being aware and engaged with the present, both internally and externally.

So how can you be a mindful eater? Michigan State University Extension suggests practicing and choosing mindful eating. You can train yourself to become a mindful eater by becoming more in-tune with your body. For example, before eating, ask yourself if you’re hungry. Recognizing that hunger is a physiological clue that your body needs fuel is the first step.  This in return will then guide you to stop eating when you feel full.

Another way to practice mindful eating is to try to eat without distraction to allow you to appreciate the flavors and aromas of your food. If you dislike a particular food, eat something else from your plate that’s more appealing to you. When you are full, leave the table so you are not tempted to eat extra bites. Finally, after you’re done eating, notice how you feel emotionally and physically. If you feel that you overate, don’t be too harsh on yourself. Instead, think positively about how you will stop eating next time you feel full.

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