Hands up if you’ve ever eaten four portions of food without even realising it. It wasn’t really on purpose but you were binge-watching you fav Netflix show and before you knew the entire pizza was gone. Given that we live lives that keep us super busy and distracted, it’s no surprise that we often lose track of what we’re eating. We squeeze in lunch while meeting deadlines, breakfast is accompanied by a side of emails and dinner is eaten while catching up Friends. It’s really no surprise that our eating habits have become mindless and guilt-inducing.
But would being more present while eating really make that much of a difference to our relationship with food and our waistlines?
What is mindful eating?
Mindful eating is all about eating with attention and intention. Mindful eating should be seen as a form of meditation, as its aim is to help you cope and recognise with your emotions and physical sensations. If anything, mindful eating will help you gain control over your eating habits. mindful eating can be beneficial to your health in so many ways, like treat many conditions, including eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and various food-related behaviours.
It’s so much more than not being distracted while eating. It about being aware of what you eat and why you’re eating. It’s choosing food that is both nourishing and enjoyable and recognising what are your non-hunger triggers for eating.
If you eat too fast, it can lead to weight gain and other health issues and the fullness signal may not arrive until you have already eaten too much. By eating mindfully, you restore your attention and slow down, making eating an intentional act instead of an automatic one.
Switch off all those devices
When eating try to switch off the tv, computer or any other electronics. A study shows people watching television while eating their meals ate up to 71% more food. Eating while distracted can lead to you not just eating more but also eating faster which could result in indigestion. By eating while undistracted, you’re more likely to realise when you’re full.
Don’t eat if you’re not hungry
Most of us are guilty of eating even when not hungry- especially when we’re stuck in a routine. Researchers noted that those who relied on the clock to know when to eat ended up eating more often than those who relied on internal hunger signals. So, just because its 12 pm doesn’t mean you have to go to that lunch break- pay attention to your body and its hunger signals.
Use Smaller bowls and plates
People tend to eat more than 90% of the foods they dish for themselves, therefore, dishing in smaller plates will give you the illusion that you have already ate so much. Reducing the size of the foods you eat will make a difference in the calories you take.
Choose your lunch buddy wisely
Sitting with people who eat slowly or little during lunch may influence you to do the same. Eating with just one other person can push you to eat up to 35% more than when you eat alone. Eating with a group of 7 or more can further increase the amount you eat by 96%. Scientists believe that this is especially true if you eat with family or friends, as it increases the time you spend eating, compared to when you eat by yourself.