Do you ever finish eating to realize you didn't even taste your food or realize what you ate?
If so, you're not alone. We all mindlessly eat – at least from time to time. But did you know that mindless eating can really pack on the pounds?
Mindless eating can lead to weight gain.
A study conducted at the University of Birmingham in the UK showed that participants who watched TV while eating ate more than those who did not. Eating just 350 calories more a day can increase your weight one pound every 10 days – or 36 pounds a year! Paying attention when you eat will help you pay attention to what you eat.
Mindful eating means being aware of what and how much you eat, using your senses to experience the food you eat, eating without judgment, and paying attention to satiation.
Here are three mindfulness techniques that will change the way you eat.
1. Set your kitchen timer for 20 minutes just as you sit down to eat. Use the entire time to connect with the food on your plate by noticing how it looks and its aroma. Taste the different flavors individually and combined. Notice the texture. Become aware of the actual food you're putting in your body on a visceral level. Take small bites and chew well.
2. Reserve one meal a week to savor the experience from "farm to fork." Prepare a menu, shop, and plan an evening or afternoon to connect with the entire experience. Notice how that meal makes you feel over other meals throughout the week.
3. Practice gratitude for the food you eat. Recognize that whatever you’re eating, all of the ingredients came from somewhere. The food was grown, gathered, packaged, and transported before you were able to make your purchase. Be thankful for the process of bringing your food to the market as well as your plate, and for all of the beings involved.
Mindful eating develops a deeper connection to food.
Finding a deeper connection to the food you eat, even if just one day a week, will change the way you eat. Mindful eating forces you to slow down and savor what's in front of you without judgment. You may even notice that on those days when you're mindful you choose more nutritious foods, and you naturally eat less.
Take the plunge into mindful eating and give one of these tips a try. You might just find that a lot changes when you take time to properly nourish your body as well as your mind.
Jessica Crow helps people harness the power of meditation and mindfulness to change their lives and the lives of others for the better through practical courses and personalized mentorship.
Find out more about the 100- Hour CNTRD Meditation Teacher Training and its 12 week to 12 month, study-at-your-own-pace format, or check out her book 'The Power of Guided Meditation', published by Fair Winds Press (2021).