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Five Tips for Mindful Eating: How to Eat

Here are five tips for mindful eating. Follow this guide to change your eating habits. How we eat, just like what we eat, has a profound effect on our behavior and ultimately on our weight.

  • Drink something warm 15-20 minutes before each meal

  • Relax

  • Eat slowly

  • Increase your eating awareness

  • Eat when you feel hungry

These recommendations apply to just about everyone, overweight or not.

Photo: by the National Cancer Institute   

Tips for Mindful Eating: Drink Something Warm 15-20 Minutes Before Each Meal.

Drink a warm drink like soup, broth or warm water with a spoon of lemon juice. Don’t drink coffee or anything sweet. Do this 15-20 minutes before a meal. It helps reduce the amount of food we eat and the speed of eating. 15-20 minutes is enough time to activate the satiety mechanism, the ability to feel when you have eaten enough. It also makes it less likely that you will clean your plate before you’re aware of it.

This technique exists throughout Europe and Asia, People have soup, tea, or a warm drink before eating. It also is in keeping with the “natural meal.” Researchers measured the flow of mother’s milk and found that during the first few minutes, the milk is thin liquid. As the baby starts to fill up, a thicker, more nutritious milk begins to flow. This practice of fluid first and nutrient second is a great natural control for overeating.

Tips for Mindful Eating: Relax

Take some time before you start eating, and allow your tensions to leave your body. Take a silent moment, listen, or get into meditative state. Don’t start your meal with haste, tension or anger. These states stimulate the nervous system and hold back digestion.

Tips for Mindful Eating: Eat Slowly

Eating is a pleasurable activity. Have a seat, be comfortable, and take your time while chewing your food well. Allow enough time so you can eat leisurely. Decide how long you’re going to eat, and use the time. Time taken for a meal increases your enjoyment from your food. It improves your digestion and your state of mind for the rest of the day. Try not to eat on the run if you can avoid it. If you’re in a rush, skip the meal, or have a piece of fruit.

Another thing you can do to slow down the pace when you eat is to take little breaks. Simply put down your fork, and take a short break. This will reduce the amount of food you eat, and how fast you eat your food.

Chewing well does two things. It prevents you from eating too fast. It also breaks up the food and increases its surface area, allowing chemicals in the saliva to begin digesting starches. Chewing also stimulates the flow of gastric juices.

Tips for Mindful Eating: Increase Your Awareness

Start by writing down the quantities of everything you eat and drink and the time you had it for at least 3-4 days a week. Research shows that being aware of what you eat on most days of the week will help you be aware of what you are consuming. Many people are surprised to find out how much they ate. They discover patterns they weren’t aware of about their eating.

Make eating the main event. Competitive activities like watching TV, reading, and heated debates don’t allow for watching what you eat or the speed in which you eat. You’re also are not aware of your chewing, your breathing, the taste of food, and the pleasure of eating.

Tips for Mindful Eating: Eat When You Feel Hungry

You should eat only when you are hungry. Remember, be aware of what and how you eat. Eat natural whole foods instead of “junk” foods, take your time, and chew your food well.

Experts suggest to eat your largest meal at the middle of the day. Of course this will vary with who you are, where you live, and what you do. If you had a light breakfast and you feel hungry later, have a healthy snack or a piece of fruit. Don’t eat right before going to bed. This might disturb your sleep and you might put on some weight.

Sometimes you come home from work and you’re “starving”. Your first inclination is to open the fridge and devour the first thing you put your hands on. Remind yourself that when you’re very hungry and you want instant fullness you should have a cup of herbal tea, a glass of natural fruit juice, a piece of fruit or a carrot just to remove the edge from your hunger. Once you allow some time to pass, prepare something more substantial for your meal. It will enable you to eat slowly with awareness and enjoyment.

Source: Food for Thought/A New Look At Food Behavior

Saul Miller with Jo Anne Miller


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