Are you unhappy with your relationship with food and what to find an evidence based way of changing it?
Watch this video and I’ll share five mindful eating tips to transform your relationship with food.
Hi, this is Ivana helping you get fit, healthy and strong.
Today I’m going to talk to you about mindful eating.
As a coach of about 20 years, I have to say that mindful eating is one of the most effective strategies that I’ve used with my clients to help them overcome a negative relationship with food.
These mindful eating tips can help you understand how and why you eat.
They bring awareness to the whole process of eating, brings awareness to the food and that’s really key. I
f you are looking for lifelong weight loss, you need to have a positive relationship with food.
I’m going to share five mindful eating tips that will help you work on mindful eating and build that relationship with food, something that will serve you for your entire life and make sure you stick around to the end because I’m going to share the one tip that I often struggle with, but I’m still working on it.
Take A Moment To Pause Before You Eat
This is a habit that not enough people have. We normally just put down the food and we start shoveling away.
When you’re talking about mindful eating, you want to be aware.
The first thing just before you’re about to eat your food, just take a moment to pause and ask yourself a few questions. So why am I eating this particular food at this time? I might actually hungry. Am I eating on a schedule? Is it just lunchtime? And that’s why I’m eating?
Is this the food that I really feel is going to benefit me? Is this food going to make me feel good? Do I like this food? Am I enjoying this food? Why am I eating this particular food at this time?
Just take a moment and it only has to be a few seconds to just run those questions through your mind when you sit down to eat.
Appreciating All Five Senses Is Part of Mindful Eating
My next mindful eating tip is appreciate all five senses. So often with food we just think about taste and that’s the only thing, but there’s so much going on. The first thing that you actually want to notice is sight.
What does your food look like?
Take a look at the color, the texture.
Is it appealing to you?
Then you’re going to move on and maybe there’s a smell and so you can bring it up to your nose. Smell, see what it is. Is it appealing to you?
Sound is not quite as obvious. Obviously unless you’ve got a sizzling skillet of something, then your food itself probably won’t make a sound. But when you actually take it in and start chewing it, what does it sound like?
Is it crunchy or is it very quiet?
What’s the sound that you hear when you’re consuming that food?
Then we’re going to move on to touch.
So you may be touching the food if it’s, you know, if it’s an apple or a sandwich.
You may be touching it and you can actually feel what it’s like. But even if you’ve got something on a fork, what does it feel to hold the utensil if you’re holding the fork, what does that feel like? Is it heavy?
This sounds kind of silly, but those are things that we don’t notice.
This is what mindfulness is all about. It’s bringing awareness to things that we don’t normally notice.
And the last one of those senses, of course, is taste. And this is when you can really start to appreciate the food. Take some time. We often just eat and maybe we chew a little bit and then we shovel the food down.
Mindful eating is about taking your time to appreciate that taste.
Is it sweet? Is it salty? Can you notice certain herb herbs and spices?
How does that food taste to you? Is it really appealing? Why is it appealing? Do you enjoy the texture?
There’s a lot of things to be aware of as part of mindful eating.
Pay Attention To Your Chewing
Chewing is actually the start of the digestive process.
You’re mixing saliva with the food and it becomes something that’s called a bolus. And then that bowl is traveling down through your digestive tract. So you need to pay some attention to the chewing process.
I’ve heard some people say, “If you want to eat really well, then you want to chew 20 or 30 times for each bite of food.”
I haven’t got time for that. I don’t know about you.
Once in a while if you’re practicing mindful eating, that’s what you want to try to do.
Try to count your chews.
You can check also what side of the mouth you’re chewing on. You might notice that one side compared to the other.
Your dentist probably knows based on how you’re wearing down. So most of us don’t chew equally on either side. So it’s something to notice when you’re trying to practice mindful eating. What side are you chewing on? How many times are you normally chewing a fork full of food? How long is it taking you to eat that food?
Most of us will find that we are pretty fast and probably a little quicker than we should be. If something’s very, if it’s a very large portion, you probably want to chew that a little bit more thoroughly. It might take those 20 bites to get through it. Normally five to 10 bites is kind of reasonable in order for us to get through life without having to do that.
But if you’re doing it as an exercise, if one day you decide you’re going to do a mindful eating exercise, then sit and try to chew 30 times for a fork full of food and it will take you a while and you’ll realize that most of the time you’re rushing, you’re eating.
Chewing is really important.
Put Down Your Utensils Or Food
It depends on what you’re eating. Of course, if you’re just eating some fruit and you’re holding it with your hand, just um, put that fruit down. So if you’ve got an Apple, you chew, chew, and then you put it down for a little while and just focus on your chewing for a little while. If you’ve got a plate full of food, then just put down that fork for a little while and just, you know, breathe, pause for 10 to 15 seconds.
Slowing down the eating process is really important.
Not only for your digestion, but just for your awareness of the food. You’re likely to consume a lot more food than you should if you’re not taking the time to eat it correctly. So put down the food, put down those utensils a little bit in between. That gives you some time to be mindful of what you’re doing and to consider how much you’re eating, how full you’re getting. Is it time to stop?
This is a really important part of mindful eating.
And now we’ve come to my last tip, which is the one I told you that I actually have a hard time with and it is avoid distractions. So this means no eating in front of the TV, no eating in front of the computer, no eating while holding your phone. None of those things. And I’m not saying that you should never do that.
Okay? Don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t mean that you should never eat in front of the TV.
It doesn’t mean you should never eat it while you’re on Facebook or YouTube or anything like that. It’s totally fine to do that occasionally, but when you’re practicing mindful eating, you want to be away from those distractions. So you want to be eating at least some of your meals, not in front of those distractions. If you’re eating all your meals and are constantly distracted, you’re going to find that you’re not aware of how much food you’re eating. You’re probably not enjoying your food as much as you could.
Have you ever noticed how much you enjoy an evening out with friends where you’re eating and really enjoying that meal and just chatting and really appreciating that food? It’s a big difference from just sitting in front of your computer and just one after the other one fork full after the other, so try to appreciate your food a little bit more by paying more attention to it.
Mindful eating is not about perfection.
It doesn’t mean that every time that you eat a bite of food, you have to be completely mindful.
This is a practice, so it’s something that you do occasionally to help teach you something about how you eat and why you eat and you don’t have to do it every time. It’s not about perfection. Don’t feel guilty because occasionally you have to eat on the run, you have to eat on the subway, you have to eat in the car, although be very, very careful there.
Don’t feel guilty about it.
Your Mindful Eating Practice
Just realize that you’re doing it and try to cut down on those habits because in general you want to have a positive relationship with food and that means appreciating that food on a daily basis. Please let me know in the comments what you can do, which of these tips you can use to make yourself a bit more mindful when you’re eating.
For me, it’s definitely not having distractions and I have been working on that, trying to eat more meals, not in front of the computer, not while I’m doing work, just so I can appreciate my meals a little bit more. I most enjoy the meals that I have with my family because we sit there, we talk, and we do appreciate the food that we’re eating as well. I hope you enjoyed those mindful eating tips today.