Many of us are constantly on the go. Eating meals while multitasking. Grabbing fast food meals while racing to the next thing. We even eat in front of the TV. All of this could be contributing to the weight gain Americans are seeing.
Mindful eating is being aware of the experience of eating, rather than mindlessly eating. Focusing on the acts of chewing and swallowing. It's paying attention to your body's cues regarding hunger and satiety.
I remember as a child, I would shovel food into my mouth as fast as I could at mealtimes so that I could get back to what I was doing - playing, homework, calling friends. My mother would tell me to slow down and enjoy the meal. This is the essence of mindful eating.
So how you do your start? If you've practiced meditation, you know how to focus the mind and keep it from wandering. It is the same principle here. Some quick tips:
Ask yourself if you're really hungry before sitting down for a meal. Asses your level of hunger.
Be aware of your emotions and stress level.Set the fork down after every bite.Chew slowly, paying attention to the texture and taste of your food.
Pay attention to the sensation when you swallow.
Check your hunger level before picking up the fork again.
If you can truly focus on eating mindfully, you will eliminate the need to limit your variety of foods. Initially, you should stick to measuring and tracking what you eat. This will help you bring your awareness to your eating habits. As you become more practiced in getting rid of the noise and listening solely to the body's cues, you may be able to stop this level of tracking and still maintain your weight.
Studies have found that mindful eating is as successful as other diet plans in lowering weight, and managing disease (this study focused on management of diabetes). If you can master this technique, you will find it easier to manage your weight and avoid the overeating and binging that can lead to weight gain.