Mindful Eating

The food you eat provides the vital nutrients like carbohydrate, protein, fat, fibers, vitamins, minerals and water that keeps your body cells running.

Good nutrition combined with physical activity help maintain a healthy weight that reduces the risk of chronic diseases.  Even for people with healthy weight, a poor diet will lead to major health risks! By making smart food choices you can always protect yourself from getting chronic diseases

Eating something high in sugar, fat and salt will stimulate your desire to eat, more!  Once you pop, you can’t stop!  So, it is apparent that mindfulness, while eating, is crucial.

Mindfulness is an ability we all possess. Mindful eating is deliberately paying attention and be aware of what we are eating. It involves all the senses and engross us in colors, textures, flavors, tastes and sounds of drinking or eating.

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Notice your food

You are three times as likely to eat the first you see on the table.  It is wise to place your most healthful food where you will notice it first.  Start your meal with salads or thin soups that prevents you from overdoing the high-calorie entrees.

Scout out your food during party.

Scanning the buffet before scooping up will help you to pick more nutritious food, first.  It helps you make smart decisions like going for light starters to start with. Seating yourself 40 feet farther from the buffet will help qualify your decision to go back, for a second or third servings.

Pick a small plate

Smaller plate will help you to dish up smaller amounts of food. Take smaller bites and chew the food at least 15 times. The longer you chew, the more time you take to finish the meal. Chewing your food longer will also help control your portion size that makes you eat less and prevent weight gain.  Longer you chew your food, easier the digestion in your stomach and intestine. The slower you eat, higher you savor the flavor!

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Observe the texture of food.

The texture of what you eat greatly affects your enjoyment of food. While dining enjoy the texture of food like: soft-yogurt and soups, Chewy-meat, crunchy-nuts, carrots, apples, and lettuce. You will discover the secret of how to become content, once you are able to fully appreciate the basic activities of eating. Each sip of liquid and the bite of food will be fresh and delicious! After a long hike, even if you drink the plain water, you will understand how wonderful it is.

Note the variety of food

Eat with your eyes. It is important to enjoy the colors of the foods in the plate like brown rice, red, orange or yellow fruits and green leafy vegetables. A little goes a long way, when you enjoy something, especially colorful. Mindful eating is a good way to help you enjoy your food, wholeheartedly.

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Watch out environmental and emotional triggers.

Before you start eating just take few seconds to rate your hunger.  Your goal is to eat between levels 4 and 6 in the hunger-satiety rating scale.  It is like you are eating when you are hungry and stop eating when you are satisfied. When you are hungry, you may experience few of the following symptoms like stomach pangs, emptiness of the stomach, low energy, difficult in concentrating.  Try not to hold your hunger until the level of 1 or 2, which leads to overeating. Catching the hunger early will naturally prevent you from overeating and at the same time you can concentrate on picking up nutritious food.

 

Hunger-Satiety Rating Scale
Full 10  =  Stuffed to the point of feeling sick
   9   =  Very uncomfortably full, need to loosen your belt
   8   =  Uncomfortably full, feel stuffed
   7   =  Very full, feel as if you have overeaten
   6   =  Comfortably full, satisfied
Neutral  5   =  Comfortable, neither hungry nor full
   4   =  Beginning signs and symptoms of hunger
   3   =  Hungry with several hunger symptoms, ready to eat
   2   =  Very hungry, unable to concentrate
Hungry  1   =  Starving, dizzy, irritable

 

Physical hunger builds gradually several hours after each meal. Emotional eating and craving, in contrast, will arise unexpectedly. Emotional eating will enhance grabbing more food than you need.  If you have recently eaten and still find yourself craving for food, watch out the emotional triggers like angry, lonely, worried, stress, bored, frustrated. Find out which emotion triggers you to eat and reach out for help. Call your friend or go for a walk, or do some stretching that relieves your stress.  

Track your food and your physical activity

Most people do not realize how much they are eating every day. Tracking the food will help you to understand where the extra calorie is coming from. It helps you to focus on varieties of food and control the portion size, as well. Tracking will help you to understand the composition of foods you eat and the nutrients you get from them. Once you start tracking your food you will be surprised to learn how many calories are hiding in the little treats like- candies and beverages you are enjoying every day. It also helps you to identify and incorporate the missing food groups like dairy, vegetables and nuts. Similarly tracking your physical activity will help you to understand how often you are physically active. It motivates you to add all four types of activities-endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. Recording activities will help you see your progress over time that impels you to add more activity to your daily routine.

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Eating is a natural and pleasurable activity for satisfying your hunger. Through mindful eating you will learn what food best fuels your exercise and work. You will also realize that unhealthy food is not as tasty and healthy as you thought before.  You will not get fat as long as you are mindful while eating.

Mindful eating replaces self-criticism with self-nurturing.

References

http://www.diabetes.org

www.mayoclinic.org

http://www.eatright.org

http://www.hpb.gov.sg

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