Karen Ensle EdD, RD, FADA, CFCS Family & Community Health Sciences Educator Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County
To lose weight, nutrition experts suggest paying more attention to how, what, why, and where we eat. Here are some small steps to make you more mindful of your personal eating habits: Eat Food Slowly- This allows you to really enjoy your food and makes it less likely that you will overeat. When you eat quickly, you may go past the point of fullness without realizing it. Don’t Eat While Doing Other Things- Doing something else while you are eating will distract you from being mindful. If you normally eat while doing other things, discover how it feels to just focus on your food. That means turning off the television, computer, or music, and not working, reading a newspaper, or doing anything else that would distract you. Focus on the Food and How You Feel - Eat foods that taste good and make you feel good. Pause to Check Whether you are Still Hungry - It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to send a message to your brain that you are full. So pause every few minutes to check yourself on the hunger scale. (See the November 2012 SSHW Health Message) You may find that you are satisfied before your food is gone. Having a Mindful Eating Experience It’s one thing to talk about eating mindfully and another to actually do it. Practice mindful eating right now by choosing a piece of candy such as a piece of chocolate. Allow yourself to savor the piece of candy and learn to enjoy it by being conscious of the flavor, smell and enjoyable taste. Enjoying one piece of candy allows you to learn to consume an enjoyable sweet without over-eating or needing large amounts of special foods. As you enjoy the piece of chocolate, let all your senses come alive.
- Observe the shape of the candy and the color of the wrapper.
- Smell the candy through the wrapper. How does it smell?
- Anticipate how the candy will taste.
- Slowly unwrap the candy and listen to the crinkle of the wrapper.
- Take another deep smell. Is the aroma stronger?
- Place the candy in your mouth and rest it on your tongue.
- Let the candy melt slowly in your mouth.