Rushing through meals, barely acknowledging the food you put in your mouth, deprives you of the pleasure of eating and may impact your health.
A study in the Journal of Obesity found that the more study participants practiced mindful eating, the greater their ability to reduce anxiety, skip eating comfort food to ease stress, and avoid eating in response to emotions. That helped them lose weight in the abdominal area.
To practice mindful eating, try these exercises:
• Be mindful of food prior to eating it. Before you eat something, silently do the following for 30 seconds: Look closely at the food in front of you, noticing the colors and shapes. Smell the food and enjoy the aroma. Consider all the plants and animals that are part of the food. Acknowledge the effort of everyone who was involved in making the food. Envision yourself eating the food mindfully with attention.
• Take mindful bites. Be aware of your movements as you bring food to your mouth. When the food is in your mouth, put your hands, silverware, or chopsticks down. As you chew, pay attention to the taste and texture of the food and to the act of chewing. Chew until the food is smooth, then swallow. After swallowing, pause for a few seconds before picking up more food or your utensils.
• Mind your chews. Pay attention to how many chews it takes for you to eat a particular food. Begin by taking a bite of food and then counting the number of chews it takes you to completely chew it up. Then take a smaller bite of the same food and count the number of chews you need, followed by taking a larger-than-normal bite and noting the number of chews. This practice can help you focus specifically on the act of eating when your attention is wandering.
Easy ways to practice mindful eating include:
- Making eating your only activity without reading, talking on your cellphone, watching TV, texting, computing, or working
- Eating with chopsticks or with your non-dominant hand
- Chewing each bite 30 to 50 times
- Sitting at a table when you eat
Slowing down and practicing mindful eating has the potential to transform your relationship with food. Reducing distractions is key to the experience.
Article from The StayWell Company, LLC