If you’ve ever watched TV during dinner or checked your email while eating lunch, you’ve engaged in mindless eating. We’ve all done it, and for millions of people living in contemporary America, mindless eating is a way of life. Unfortunately, the combination of a distracted brain plus repetitive, habitual behaviors often leads to unhealthy choices, a higher caloric intake, and excess weight gain.
Mindful eating is the opposite. It’s essentially the practice of being fully present and aware not only of the food you eat but also of your body’s cues for hunger and satiation. Eating mindfully involves:
- Making conscious choices about how, when, where, and with whom you eat
- Slowing down down enough to taste the flavors and enjoy the textures of your food
- Eating only when hungry and stopping when full
This simple concept goes against the typically rushed and busy American life, but it can have a significant impact on your ability to lose weight and keep it off. Mindful eating results in a healthier relationship with food and long term improvements to health and wellbeing.
Tips for mindful eating
Changing your relationship to food won’t happen overnight, but there are certain habits you can begin to change that will help you incorporate mindful eating into your daily lifestyle.
- Meal prep
Planning and preparing nutritious meals ahead of time ensures that you have healthy food available when it’s time to eat. And because the prep work has already been done, it gives you time to enjoy your food slowly, without a sense of urgency.
- Remove distractions
Looking at your food is an important part of mindful eating. If you’re looking at your phone or your television or even the newspaper, your mind is distracted away from the act of eating and nourishing your body. Turn off the television, put away your phone, and clear the table of clutter so you can give your attention to your food while you eat.
- Eat slowly
Taking time to enjoy the flavors and textures of your food is an act of self care. Your mealtime becomes more restful and enjoyable when you slow down. Eating slowly also gives your body time to release the hormones that cause feelings of fullness before you add unnecessary calories.
- Savor every bite
If you find it difficult to slow down for the sake of slowing down, try focusing on the flavors and aromas in every bite instead. If you practice this with every meal, you’ll slow down automatically, and your appreciation for your food will grow. If you’re not enjoying the foods you’re eating, then this is something to be addressed. Mindful eating includes the selection of healthy, nourishing foods that you actually enjoy.
- Eat in the same place every time
Mindful eating should be done in a place that’s dedicated for eating only. This means eating only in the kitchen, never on the couch; or in the break room at work, never at your desk. When your engagement with food is kept separate from other activities as well as places associated with other activities, it will increase your mindfulness around eating.
- Keep a food journal
Writing down what you eat helps to keep you conscious of your choices and makes it easier to . Even if you eat a piece of cake that’s not on your meal plan, it’s important to acknowledge it. Doing so can help you track your behaviors and the emotional connections that may cause them. The more honest you are in your food journal, the more effective it can be as a tool for creating healthier habits.
Mindful eating is a skill. It takes practice and it takes time to become re-familiarized with your body’s hunger and satiety cues. But first, you have to beat those cravings. If you’re having trouble slowing down or making healthy food choices because cravings are getting in the way, 10x can help.
Beat back the cravings with 10x
Cravings are one of the biggest obstacles to losing weight, especially in the beginning. One of the perks of the 10x program is the doctor-prescribed weight loss medications that help remove cravings while you make the lifestyle changes necessary for losing the weight and keeping it off. If you want to start practicing mindful eating without the added burden of cravings, 10x medications will help remove them so it’s easy for you to practice mindfulness and embrace healthy habits. At 10x, we’ll also teach you simple ways to read food labels and shop smart so you can maintain a healthy weight for life. Join 10x today!