Eating a healthy meal is super important for increasing energy levels and boosting mood, as well as keeping your immunity high; however, it’s not just about what you’re eating but also about how you’re dining too that matters for your health, long-term.
Taking the time to enjoy your meal and eat slowly enough where your body can register its fullness and be aware of satiety cues and hunger levels will help you better manage diet and weight gain over time. And it allows you to be more in tune with your body’s needs and make healthy, clean choices for meals and snacks, with fewer incidences of mindless eating and cravings.
To be fair, mindfulness when eating takes time and practice, so don’t beat yourself up if you polish off a meal within seconds after taking too long to nosh on a snack or if you need to eat something super fast in between meetings here and there.
Cut yourself some slack and just focus on being more present during meals and snacks. You will likely experience those gradual improvements, which will happen in time and lead to long-lasting positive changes regarding diet and weight management. Keep these top tips in mind, which all encourage more mindfulness as you eat.
Eating with chopsticks is challenging, so swapping utensils for chopsticks can force you to slow down with your pace. So, keep those chopsticks but nix that late night Chinese food takeout habit!
With this mindfulness hack, you will likely find yourself with increased satiety about mid-way through your meal, meaning you may decide to save the rest for another time instead. This helps you avoid overeating, and you might even then save some money and time in the kitchen by enjoying unexpected leftovers, too.
Set a Timer for Break Increments and Total Meal Time
You can also be more technical in approach and choose to set an alarm or timer to help you monitor your pace. This might be especially helpful in the beginning too, before you’ve practiced how to rewire your hunger cues and better learn your appetite and eating patterns.
You can make marks to not finish a meal before a specific time, or you can choose to take breaks every five or ten minutes by putting the utensil down and waiting for a period of time before picking it back up again. In addition to taking breaks, chewing your food more thoroughly will also help! Aim to give each bite a few good chews and let yourself really enjoy and savor each bite and its flavors.
Eat With Good Company, Electronics Free
Swap the computer, television and phone for good friends and family for company instead, where you can be more present in the meal and in your surroundings.
Electronics often cause you to eat with the program, and more—you’re rushing through a meal and then feel hungry for more before appetite suppression can set in or you’re simply eating more and more because your movie is still playing, and you want to snack with your entertainment.
This is all related to mindlessness when eating, and you won’t really experience the taste of your food and be able to check in with your body’s actual hunger and suppression cues.
Instead, eat with good company and mingle! This keeps less emphasis on food, where you will automatically slow down your eating due to conversation at hand. And you’ll be able to socialize, which will feel a whole lot better than just eating something by yourself at home, too, especially when you haven’t seen them in a while or have been swamped with work and in isolation mode for much of the week.