November 13, 2019
How many times have you done something and cannot remember what happened or what was said? Have you even found that you cannot remember what you had to eat a few hours ago? Our minds wander due to deadlines, upcoming events and other pressures, which can lead to us doing things without paying attention. This even happens with eating. More and more research has found practicing mindfulness while eating to have a positive psychological well-being for individuals and their eating behaviors.
Mindful eating is being aware of your eating habits, the sensations you experience when you eat and the thoughts and emotions you have about food. It also helps us learn to be aware of what our body is telling us about hunger and satisfaction. Mindful eating is not a diet. It is more about how you eat than what you eat.
Mindfulness can create a healthy relationship to food and allow us to choose food that is both pleasing and nourishing. Additional benefits include: weight loss management and maintenance, improved self-esteem and a renewed sense of control and empowerment.
Some strategies for incorporating mindful eating:
1. Ask yourself and reflect—am I hungry, am I thirsty, what is it that I want to eat/drink? Are you rushed, stressed, sad, bored? Take 5 deep breaths and notice if you have any sensations of hunger.
2. Use smaller plates and serving utensils to control portion size—the less you see, the less you eat.
3. Stop eating when you feel full. It is okay not to eat everything on your plate. Save the leftovers for a snack or another meal.
4. Assess/really check out your food and how it appeals to your senses—intently notice the colors, smell, taste, texture, savor. And, ask yourself if it is a food you really want? Take time to choose foods you really like and satisfy you.
5. Sloooow down—this helps you to enjoy your food and tell when the body has had enough. Try putting your fork down in between bites, pausing and taking a breath between bites and chewing your food completely. Drinking water in between bites will also give the body time to signal to the brain it is satisfied, not stuffed.
6. Be present for the experience of eating—sit down and pay attention to what you are eating and the experience of others who are at the meal. Turn off the television and remove other technology from the meal.
7. Nonjudgment—speak mindfully and compassionately to yourself, instead of being ruled by shoulds and guilt when you eat.
The above information was gathered from Utah State University Extension and Michigan State University Extension. To learn more, contact Janell at the Chouteau County Extension Office at 622-3036, firstname.lastname@example.org or in the green building next to the Chouteau County Courthouse at 1308 Franklin St in Fort Benton.
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Montana State University, US Department of Agriculture and Montana Counties Cooperating. MSU Extension is an equal opportunity/affirmative action provider of educational outreach.