Mind What You Eat
Mindless eating is one of the biggest challenges that adults face today and one of the main reasons behind unwanted weight gain or poor digestion. We can eat tons of food in minutes without even realizing it. Speed-eating, or mindless eating, can trigger reflux, bloating, blood-sugar crashes and eventually the pounds will pile on. Whether you’re mindlessly munching on the couch in front of the TV, picking at your kid’s dinner plates, or popping in a couple m&ms every time you pass the candy bowl on your colleague’s desk, we all are guilty of eating without full awareness.
Start being more mindful of what you eat by practicing these 5 tips:
1. Stick to an eating schedule: Eating your meals around the exact same time everyday will help you stay aware and on track. Breakfast should be within the first hour or 2 of waking and each consecutive meal should be 4-5 hours apart.
For example, if you wake up at 7am, breakfast should be before 9am, lunch at 1pm, snack at 4-5pm and dinner between 7 and 8pm.
2. Eat slowly: Fast eating leads to over-eating and is usually done when you’re not paying attention or you waited too long to eat. Take your time with food. Pay attention to how it tastes, smells, feels, etc. Engage your senses to stay in the moment.
Chew your food at least 20 times before you swallow – even if you have to count out loud! It takes at least 20 minutes for the body to recognize fullness so sllooowwwww down.
3. Stay hydrated: Keep water by you all times to ensure your hydration needs are met every single day. Not only will you have more energy and feel better, but it can keep you full and less prone to mindless munching.
Hydration needs vary from person to person. Generally, your weight in pounds divided by 2 is how many fluid ounces you should get in each day.
4. Avoid multi-tasking during meal times: Sure, eating while driving, texting, walking or emailing, saves time but chances are you’re not fully invested in the act and if you’re not completely focused on eating, you’re setting yourself up for a guaranteed mindless over-eating episode. FAIL! Being a good multi-tasker might have it’s pros in certain situations, but when it comes to food, it is strictly a con.
If it is time to eat then its ONLY time to eat. Put down your cell phone, turn off the TV, and find a quiet and relaxing environment to enjoy your 20 minutes of bliss.
5. Eat only when sitting at a table: Standing in front of the fridge while munching, eating on the run or chomping away on the couch are off limits. Hey you! Just because you ate it before you sat down at the table doesn’t mean it didn’t happen! Keeping meals to a designated location will force you to focus on what’s on your plate which will help you stay on track. It will also weed out all those times that you ate something but felt it “didn’t really count.”
Whether it’s your dining room table, kitchen table, lunch room table or restaurant table, as long as it ends in “table” you should be moving in the right direction.