When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, going to the gym is only half the battle. The other half is nutrition – how much is eaten, what is eaten and when we eat. Eating is the one thing that most of us struggle with, as we tend to consume portions that are too large. Mindless eating while surfing the internet or watching movies is distracting and does not allow us to focus on how much we are actually intaking.
One strategy to help with this is called, “Mindful Eating.” Mindful eating is all about being conscious about what and how you eat. This approach helps us focus on our body’s hunger cues, and why and when we eat. Knowing what triggers hunger can also control cravings.
There are several ways to eat consciously and make sure we eat for nutritional content and not simply out of boredom.
1) Don’t eat while online or watching television. When we are distracted while eating, more often than not, we will overeat – and not on healthy foods.
2) Eat with your opposite hand. This forces you to think about what you’re doing and slows down consumption.
3) Keep a food diary. If we are aware of what and how much we are eating, there is a good chance we’ll realize our food intake is often times more than we need. It’s a great visual to see the food choices we’re making and it’s much easier to change habits. Along with keeping track of the actual food we’re consuming, it’s important to note the time of day, as well as main nutritional facts including: fats, calories, protein and carbs.
4) Weigh your food – not just yourself. Weighing food can be done on a simple kitchen food scale (available at any major retailer) and allows us to control portion sizes.
5) Slow down. Enjoy your food. Chew thoroughly and make meals last 20-30 minutes. It takes your brain about 20 minutes to send the message to your body, that it’s full. Slowing down will help you avoid overeating.
Use these tips and be aware of what you are putting in your body. Make eating a way to improve your health, not just pass the time. You’ll end up consuming foods that are more nutritional and you won’t eat as much.