Stop, Sit, Eat
Have you ever eaten an entire meal yet felt as if you didn’t even eat? Your mouth wanted more, your stomach wanted more…wait a minute, DID you actually scarf down a meal or not?
Perhaps you were eating while driving. Perhaps you were standing at the kitchen counter. Perhaps you were eating out of the refrigerator. Perhaps you were watching TV. Perhaps you were at your work desk. Perhaps you were….
Perhaps that’s why you didn’t feel satisfied! Eating a meal that leaves you full and content does not only mean eating healthy and nutritious food. Equally as important is the act of eating mindfully.
What is mindful eating?
Mindful eating means being fully present in the moment—seeing, smelling, feeling and tasting the food you are eating. In addition, it involves appreciating the way your food looks and feels—the colors and textures, as well as taking note of your body’s reaction to the foods such as your hunger levels and mood.
Key components of mindful eating:
1) Sitting down at a table to eat
2) Eating without distractions i.e. TV, computer, newspaper
3) Eating in a neutral environment—a location that does not conjure up negative emotions or stress
Eating mindfully allows you to feel fuller while eating less. One contributing factor to this is the natural tendency to spend more time eating at each meal. Thus your stomach has adequate time to send the necessary signals to your brain alerting it that it is no longer hungry. You will also find that your body is better able to digest the food consumed.
Strategies to slow down eating:
1) Use your non-dominant hand
2) Drink water in between bites
3) Observe, smell, and feel your food
4) Think about the love that went into preparing the food
Life seems to be getting more and more hectic every day. Fewer families are sitting down together at the dinner table to eat a home-cooked meal. Don’t let that be your family. Set aside 15-30 min. to sit down and enjoy your meal. If you are by yourself, sit outside or by the window and simply enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds of nature. You may think that there isn’t enough time in the day to set aside for dinnertime, but surely you have 15-30 minutes. Treat yourself and your family as well as you would if you had a guest over for dinner.