Mindful eating is a term that gets thrown around a lot amongst dietitian's but what we often find here at Happy Apple Nutrition is that clients inside our weight loss coaching program haven't yet learnt how it can help with weight loss...
And we don't blame them!
We are bombarded with weight loss advice online all day, every day, right?
It can be hard to know what works and what is just marketing. In between the latest diet and the next miracle food!
So we want to clear that up in today's blog post and more specifically, talk about mindful eating and how this can help to achieve weight loss without all of the fads and trends.
So first of all...
What is Mindful Eating?
It pretty much means what is says. It's the practice of being present at meal times, being aware when you're eating so as to eliminate distraction and get more enjoyment from food. Mindful eating is less common in today's world where we are all working long hours, lead super busy lives and spend many hours in front of a screen whether it be computer or phone. Consequently, it's something we have to work on.
How Can It Help With Weight Loss?
Eating mindfully has many benefits for weight loss as it forces us to eat slower and chew better. This alone aids digestion and reduces bloating. The art of eating slowly helps with portion control as the hunger hormones can signal that you're full before you have overeaten.
Mindful eating can also help to limit the need for snacks, especially those consumed as a result of cravings. When you taste more of what you eat and you feel more satisfied because of the slower pace of eating, cravings are reduced and snacking is better controlled.
11 Ways You Can Be A More Mindful Eater
You can practice mindful eating in easy ways and use this strategy in conjunction with exercise and reduced energy intake to help reach your weight loss goals.
Here are 11 ways to practice eating more mindfully:
1. Avoid distraction at meal times
Focus all your attention on eating rather than trying to multitask at meal times. You only eat for 20 minutes 3 times per day – everything else can wait until you have finished your meal!
2. Listen to your body
Connect with the feelings of hunger and fullness by using a satiety scale. If you are unsure of what this is, ask our friendly dietitian's3. Sit down to eat
Take time out of your busy day to sit down to eat each of your meals rather than eating on the run.4. Eat slowly
Aim for 1 mouthful every 20 seconds and 20 minutes to finish each meal.
5. Eat with a teaspoon
Use a teaspoon to help slow your speed of eating and promote tasting and savouring6. Taste every mouthful
Take the time to taste and savour every mouthful. The more you taste the less you need to eat to feel satisfied and the more mindful you will be while eating.7. Imagine each mouthful going through the digestive system
Picture your digestive system and track it as it passes through the oesophagus into your stomach8. Be thankful
9. Take time to think about how the food you are eating came to you
Acknowledge the easy access we have to food in this country and how lucky we are to never be forced to go hungry. It is helpful to never take for granted the availability of food in Australia.
Think about the number of people and processes the product has passed by/through to end up in your cupboard or fridge. For example with milk, acknowledge the cow, the farmer, the pasteurisation and packaging as well as distribution to the supermarkets via transport systems. As you can imagine, a lot of work goes into getting produce onto the supermarket shelves everyday.10. Move your body everyday
Aim for 30-60 minutes of enjoyable activity everyday. Work towards limiting the amount of sedentary time in your day for optimal health benefits.11. Practice self-monitoring
A mindful eating food diary can be a helpful tool to ensure you are eating mindfully everyday as you can track and log your progress at each meal each day.If you are unsure of where to find a mindful eating food diary, ask your Dietitian