How to Eat Less and Be More Mindful About Meals
By Jennifer A. Mason, LCSW LMFT LISW-S
Every day we make dozens of decisions about food. In fact, we make these decisions so frequently that often we aren’t even aware of it. For instance, before every meal we must decide where we are going to eat, what we are going to eat, at what time etc. And because we have made these decisions a part of our daily ritual, we can do it without giving it a second thought.
But this tendency to operate on “autopilot” can lead to a lot of mindless munching if we’re not careful. That’s an easy way to pad your daily caloric total without noticing; that is, until your scale starts to move in the wrong direction.
Getting a grip on this kind of distracted eating is important if you ever want to reach your weight loss goals and stay there. You can close the door on unwanted consumption of unhealthy foods by identifying situations where you tend to overeat. Because it’s really easy to let small things in your life influence your decision to eat. Here’s how to eat less and become more mindful about meals:
Put Distracting Foods Away. When you eat, keep high-fat, high-calorie foods off of the table. You won’t be distracted or tempted by them if you decide to linger at the table for a while after you eat. Put healthier, low-calorie fruits and vegetables on the table instead.
Serve Smaller Portions. Learning to put on your plate only the amount of food that you need to satisfy your hunger is a lesson worth learning. Using a smaller plate, like a salad plate helps you to keep your portion size under control.
Take Your Time. Slow down when you eat. Use your meal as an opportunity to reflect on your day or to engage in conversation with others. Try to prolong the meal by waiting to clear the dishes. Be conscious of every bite you take and be aware when you start to feel full.
Do Not Skip Meals. Stay on top of your hunger by eating regularly. The best way to prevent binge eating is by satisfying your hunger before it gets to the point of no return. Be aware of your eating timetable at all times.
By being mindful we will bring clarity and vividness to our eating experience. It can also enhance our sense of well-being and bring us a sense of much-needed calm. Plus, it may help us end unhealthy habits and patterns.
Remember, food is there to sustain us, to give us energy while we continue with our activities. But that is not what we have done with our food. We have tried to make every meal special; every meal is a Thanksgiving array of food to tempt us to eat until we can’t eat another bite. That is why we need to slow down, sit down, turn the TV off, close the book/paper, put down the tablet or computer and FIND MINDFULNESS.