Mindful Eating may help with Weight Loss.

Growing body of research suggests that “mindful eating” -- a slower, more thoughtful way of eating could help with weight problems, stress eating and maybe steer you away from processed food and unhealthy choices.

Mindful eating is based on the Buddhist concept of mindfulness, which involves being fully aware of what is happening within and around you at the moment

Mindfulness techniques have also been offered as a way to relieve stress and alleviate problems like high blood pressure and chronic gastrointestinal difficulties.

Applied to eating, mindfulness includes noticing your decisions around eating and food, and includes both non eating (thinking – why do I actually eat: hungry or stress eating) and actual eating phase. Where you notice the colors, smells, flavors, and textures of your food; chewing slowly; getting rid of distractions like TV or reading; and learning to cope with guilt and anxiety about food.

The mind–gut connection

Digestion involves a complex series of hormonal signals between the gut and the nervous system, and it seems to take about 20 minutes for the brain to register satiety (fullness). 

If you eat too quickly, satiety may occur after overeating instead of putting a stop to it. There’s also reason to believe that eating while we’re distracted by activities like driving or typing may slow down or stop digestion similar to how the stress reaction -  “fight or flight” response does. 

And if we’re not digesting well, we may be missing out on the full nutritive value of some of the food we’re consuming.

A starter kit for mindful eating

Here are some tips (and tricks) that may help you get started:

First step in mindful eating is about non-eating. Confused?

Before opening the fridge or cabinet, take a breath and ask yourself, “Am I Hungry?

This simple question creates the pause letting you understand are you actually hungry or there is something else going on. 

If you ARE hungry.

Sure – go ahead and choose the food that nourishes your body and mind; food that helps with your health, weight and longevity goals. 

Next step – eat your food mindfully:

  • Set your kitchen timer to 20 minutes, and take that time to eat a normal-sized meal.
  • Try eating with your non-dominant hand; if you’re a righty, hold your fork in your left hand when lifting food to your mouth.
  • Use chopsticks if you don’t normally use them.
  • Eat silently for five minutes, thinking about what it took to produce that meal, from the sun’s rays to the farmer to the grocer to the cook.
  • Take small bites and chew well.

If you ARE NOT hungry.

Now you have to decide how you would like to proceed – eat anyway, redirect your attention or meet your true needs.

Eat anyway – when you aren’t hungry it is even more important to eat mindfully, with intention and attention, so you can avoid overeating.  

Redirect your attention. Here are some ideas to redirect your attention creatively.

Meet your true needs

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