I am writing this article on Monday afternoon.
Today I needed to go drop off my ballot (go vote!), get to the post office, pay bills, return phone calls, and do the usual Monday catch-up routine at work.
I had brought snacks for the next couple of days and a big lunch to work with me, and the next thing I knew, I had eaten it all while sitting in front of my computer trying to get stuff done.
And the worst thing? I hadn’t even noticed how much I was eating, and I certainly didn’t stop to enjoy it.
It is this kind of distracted eating that gets a lot of us into trouble.
So what can we do about it? Here are some tips for mindful eating:
Avoid the distractions:
Okay, I know that there will be times when it may be impossible to sit down for three focused meals each day, but as much as you can, try to avoid eating while distracted. Those who eat in front of the television have been shown to consume more food than those who eat at the dinner table. So, turn of the TV or the computer (even if only for a little while) and focus on what you are eating.
Listen to your body:
A lot of us turn to food when we are feeling stressed or bored even if we aren’t actually hungry. The next time you are thinking about grabbing a snack, take a breath and stop for a moment to consider whether or not you are really hungry or just looking for comfort.
Nourish yourself (but enjoy it):
Let’s be honest, you will eat what’s around. So why not surround yourself with healthful, nourishing foods that will actually make you feel better? However, if you hate salad, don’t force yourself to eat salad. Find fruits, veggies, and other healthy snacks that you can truly enjoy.
Engage your senses:
Instead of just mindlessly eating, take a moment to notice the sight, scent, and taste of your food. Eat slowly and savor the texture.
Put down your fork between bites:
This little trick can work wonders for slowing you down and helping you to appreciate each bite. This is much better than hanging on to your fork and anticipating the next bite of food before you have even finished your current one.
Stop before you are full:
One of the big pitfalls of eating mindlessly or rushing through our meals is that we often eat to the point of being uncomfortably full. Slow down and it will be easier to notice the time when your body is satisfied.