Do you shovel through your food like there’s a famine?
Let’s face it, the hustle and bustle of daily life can sometimes have us treating our meals as an item to cross off the to-do list rather than a time to sit down and nourish our bodies. Unfortunately when you’re constantly eating on the go, it’s easy to fall prey to mindless overeating, leaving you feeling bloated, uncomfortable and ready for a nap.
But how do you know when (or how much) you should (or shouldn’t) eat. With an abundance of information out there, what’s an MNB girl to do? To help a sister out, we’ve come up with 8 simple ways to eat more mindfully, starting today.
1: Eat only when you are hungry
No two days are the same. If you went on a 7-mile hike on Sunday, you might be craving a larger dinner than after a typical Monday at the office. Maybe you join your co-worker for lunch every day at noon, but on some days you’re not hungry until 1:30. When you learn how to approach each day mindfully and listen to your body rather than the clock, calendar, and those around you, you are able to eat more sensibly.
2: Stop eating when you are full
No matter what, always check in with your fullness level. Stop when you are 80% full rather than eating until you can’t eat anymore (100% or more). Ensure you’re keeping up your water intake throughout the day as sometimes dehydration can be mistaken for hunger.
3: Set aside time to focus solely on eating
You know us sporty sisters are often on the go! To be more present while you’re eating, it’s important to set aside time for meals, i.e. take a lunch break while at work (don’t resort to what we like to call “desk lunch”). Sit down, focus all of your energy on savouring every mouthful, take smaller bites and chew your food. While you may feel too busy to sit down and take a break, you owe it to your body to give it the time and nourishment it deserves.
4: Set the Mood.
A calm ambience is key when munching mindfully and truly enjoying your food. Tune out from all distractions, such as your TV, laptop, phone, even the newspaper! Find a quiet place, with little distractions to focus solely on enjoying each and every bite. In this relaxing environment, you may even find that your food tastes better, plus it’s a great tool to stay present and engage in conversations without being superglued to your phone.
5: Practice gratitude for your plate
You wouldn’t want to spend an hour cooking up a gorgeous dinner, only to have it disappear in 10 minutes, right? Whether you, a friend, or a five-star chef created the meal on your plate, take a moment to appreciate the love and ingredients that went into it. Savor the flavors, textures, and colors and treat it as you would your biggest indulgence. Plate your food in a beautiful way and it will be that much easier to savour and appreciate. When you’re present and appreciative of what you are eating, you’re more likely to be satisfied longer (and avoid reaching for a candy bar after lunch). When food is your friend, you can’t help but feel happier. And that is a state of mind that we could all benefit from seeing more of in the world.
6. Slow it down
Because it takes time for our stomachs to communicate how full it is with our brain (we’re not superheroes!), people who eat slowly tend to consume fewer calories than speedy eaters. If you have trouble pumping the brakes, chew your food about 20 times before swallowing. This may seem silly to do every time you nourish, but you’ll find that over time, it will soon become the norm. Digestion begins in the mouth, so the more work you do to chew before your food begins its journey, the more grateful your tummy will be later.
7. Take a break
Ever notice on days when you’re distracted or in a rush, you end up eating as fast as you can chew? Eliminate distractions around you helps, but try to get in the habit of putting your fork down between bites. When out to eat with a group, take this pause as an opportunity to start a conversation.
8. Finish last
Eating a meal can be a beautiful thing to enjoy with a group of people, but sometimes with all the conversations and excitement, it can be easy to over-eat or eat too fast. A simple trick is this: be the last person at the table to pick up your fork and the last person to finish your meal.
Being mindful in everything you do (eating included!) is a practice, but part of being mindful is enjoying the process. The good news is when you enjoy the process, you’re bound to enjoy the result.