Making time to be more mindful of your meal can make you feel better and eat better, too. It's not hard for the food on your plate to disappear before you realize it--try and focus on one task at a time in order to enjoy eating (and all the other wonderful things there are in life!)
What is Mindful Eating?
Mindful eating is about slowing the process down, paying closer attention to what you’re eating and listening to your body. You might even say it’s about trusting your gut.
Mindful eating encourages you to be more conscious of your food choices, really taste and enjoy your food, and stop when you have had enough. And many experts believe it could ultimately change the way you interact with food, ridding you of any guilt.
"Changing how you eat doesn't begin by changing what you eat," says Megrette Fletcher, R.D., co-founder of The Center for Mindful Eating.
Mindful Eating is Backed by Science
The best reason to practice mindfulness when you eat: science proves it’s helpful! Research shows mindful eating leads to healthier choices and when you stop before feeling full.
There is also evidence that this style of eating can help people lose weight, decrease risk factors such as cholesterol and blood pressure, and feel more positive about themselves.
The B.A.S.I.C.S of Mindful Eating
Ready to Try Mindful Eating?
Lynn Rossy, Ph.D., a health psychologist and founder of the Mindfulness Practice Center at the University of Missouri, provides the B.A.S.I.C.S to begin eating more mindfully.
B - BREATHE & BELLY CHECK
Before you eat take a moment to think about your level of hunger on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the point of overindulgence and 1 meaning starvation.
A - ASSESS YOUR FOOD
Before taking a bite, use all your senses to notice the food. If you're eating with friends or family, take time and bring your attention to the meal in front of you.
S - SLOW DOWN
Take time to enjoy your food and you will be more in tune with how full you are getting. Want to slow down even more? Put your fork down and take a few deep breaths between bites (avoid the urge to reach for your smartphone or turn on the TV during these quiet moments).
I - INVESTIGATE YOUR HUNGER THROUGHOUT
Ask yourself what your hunger level is throughout the meal. You should stop eating when you feel full and not overstuffed.
C - CHEW YOUR FOOD THOROUGHLY
Take time to consider the taste of each bite, thoroughly chewing your food. Do not continue eating until you have fully enjoyed the previous mouthful. Slowing down helps your body digest nutrients and register every fork-full, avoiding overeating.