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    How and why to Become a Mindful Eater

    How (and why) to Become a Mindful Eater 

    mindful eating

    The fast paced world we live in can make being healthy difficult in a myriad of ways. Finding time to shop, prepare and cook meals can be challenge enough but many of us are finding that we don’t even have the time to eat either. We may scarf breakfast on our way to work, only to pick up a quick convenience food on our way home from a long day and then have a quick snack while watching television before bed. We also live in a high stress world where marketing encourages using food to create good feelings. The problem in each of these scenarios is that we don’t really recognize that we’re eating, or in some cases what we’re eating. In the long run this can have a pretty detrimental impact on our appetite and our waist line as well as foster an unhealthy relationship with food. Let me explain how.

    When we’re mindful of what we eat we become more satisfied with that food. When we eat while on-the-go or in front of devices we aren’t paying attention to food. Less of our sensory perception is being devoted to our food and more toward our commute, electronics or paperwork. This means when the meal is finished we often times are left feeling unsatisfied, from a sensory standpoint and want to naturally eat more to satisfy this gap. This is why they say don’t “eat from the bag” while watching television. Inversely, if we want to be more satisfied with meals and eat less we can devote more of our senses to food, or be mindful of our eating. One way to do this is to employ the four senses rule, commenting (either aloud or to yourself) on the 1. Smell, 2. Aesthetic qualities 3. Taste, and 4. Texture of your food. This ensures your mindful of your food and portions. This also has a tendency to slow you’re eating down, giving your stomach more time to tell your brain you’re full and seizing that full feeling or bloat after meals. Using more of your senses increases mealtime satisfaction meaning you don’t have to go back for seconds or eat again an hour later for fulfillment.

    Another way to bring mindfulness back to your eating is to ask yourself why you’re eating each thing that passes through your mouth. This doesn’t have to be a daunting or laborious activity. Simply take an extra three seconds before each drink, meal or snack during your day and quickly ask yourself “Why? Am I actually eating this?” Is it hunger? Routine? Boredom? Sadness? Perhaps a social situation? The list goes on and on but the point is, you begin to identify the reason for your eating and the first step in any positive change process is awareness.

    Being mindful of what we eat increases satisfaction which reduces or appetite and portions. Done at every meal, this can have a significant impact on our waistlines. It also helps identify the reasons why we eat and encourages us to have a healthy relationship with food, one based on our bodies need and not our emotions or feelings. Being mindful also begins to makes us aware of the healthfulness of food by making us stop and think about all the foods qualities. Being mindful in every facet of life is important however when applied to food it can have an immense impact on our health. To know more about mindful eating practices or if you have questions about food, nutrition and diet feel free to contact me via email at nick@thenhcaa.com or message me at www.facebook.com/NickPomanteRD.

     

    By Nick Pomante, RD

     

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