I first tried mindful eating at a yoga retreat I attended a few years ago. Once a day the retreat held silent meals where everyone would serve and eat in silence. The goal was to really focus on the food and the enjoyment of eating. It was surprisingly relaxing. It’s also a great way to literally watch what you eat. Since the body takes approximately twenty minutes to register it is full, (www.livestrong.com) this is the perfect way for us to slow down and listen to our bodies.
If you are trying to lose weight or just Eat By Design, I encourage you to try this experiment. I’ve included some steps below to help you get started.
- Choose By Design foods, (proteins, lots of veggies and root vegetables). You need to eat something that will leave you feeling satisfied and full.
- Remove all distractions. All of them. I mean it. Phone, TV, radio, computer, all of them. You can only be mindful by living in the moment and focusing on what you’re doing. All of these electronic doodads take us out of the present moment. They also distract us so we can’t tell if we’re full. Most overeating happens when we are distracted and forget to check in with our bellies to see if we need more food.
- Use a smaller plate. You can fool yourself into thinking you’re getting more food by putting the same amount of food on a smaller plate. I suggest a salad or side plate.
- Take smaller bites. Smaller bites mean you eat more slowly and you have more time to actually enjoy your food.
- Put down your fork in between bites. This will also slow down your eating and let your body alert you when you’re full.
- Eat until you’re 80% full. Since it can take up to twenty minutes to feel full, stopping after you eat 80% of your food gives your stomach time to catch up. If you’re still hungry after that, then you can eat a bit more.
- Enjoy! Smell your food before you start eating. Savor all the different flavors and textures of your food. Pay attention to sensations. Spend the time to nourish yourself. Bon appetit.