Being more mindful when you eat is my number one tip to help my clients not only lose weight, but also maintain vibrant health for the rest of their lives.
Once you start paying attention to not only what you eat, but how you eat, you will automatically reap the benefits.
Indeed, eating mindfully is all about optimizing your digestive processes in order to leave the table feeling not only satisfied and nourished, but also full of energy. Most people rush while they eat and this can wreak havoc on your body; causing negative effects such as gas, bloating, constipation and more.
Who wants that?
It can seem challenging at first. However, I have a few easy tricks to make the experience a lot easier and natural for you.
5 Easy Tips To Eat More Mindfully:
Be PRESENT – Don’t Multitask While Eating
This can be a tough one as many of us are so used to doing something else as we eat.
Talking on the phone, watching TV, writing, reading… these are all activities that will take your attention away from the foods you are consuming. It makes for a digestive process that is less efficient and more complicated.
While eating completely in silence and with no company may be a little bit more complex for some of us, try this strategy: put away your phone, turn off the TV or any other electronic devices. Then proceed to pay close attention to what you eat for the first 3 to 5 minutes of your meal.
If you do have company, keep the conversation light-hearted and enjoyable (don’t invite stress to the table, nor anger). Finally, if you enjoy music, soft non-distracting music is best.
To eat mindfully, it is important to stop and make time to just eat. Undisturbed.
Chew, Chew, Chew
The digestive system includes your mouth and your teeth. In fact, chewing is an important part of the digestive process. So, please don’t skip it or overlook it.
When you chew on your food thoroughly (between 7 to 15 times or more, depending on the person), you activate the salivary enzymes present in your mouth. These break food down into smaller portions, making it easier to assimilate and digest. This will result in less bloating, less burping, less indigestion and yes, even weight loss in the long run (when you consume healthy and clean ingredients).
Invite ALL of your Senses to the Table
For most people, the act of eating involves at most 3 senses (taste, sight and smell), with the predominant sense being taste, of course. However, when you make a conscious effort to involve all 5 senses with each bite, the overall experience of eating becomes not only satisfying, but also much more intense.
Paying attention to all of your senses will radically transform what, how, and the pace at which you eat.
With each bite, take the time to truly look at what you are eating. Listen, smell, appreciate what you see, touch and then delight in the taste of every single ingredient. For fun, you can even try to guess what ingredients went into the preparation of the meal you haven’t prepared.
Have fun with it and enjoy the experience.
Slow Down – Try Chopsticks
This is one of my favorite tricks!
Whenever I eat at an Asian restaurant, I like to eat with chopsticks. Since I’m not used to eating with them, they automatically slow down my pace and force me to pay close attention to what is on my plate. It is also quite fun.
Why not bring your own set of chopsticks everywhere you go and eat with them?
You’d be surprised at what eating with chopsticks can do for you. You might not only lose weight (eating slower may lead to eating less and to a better absorption of the nutrients in your foods), but also change the kind of foods you eat altogether. Try eating a sandwich or bagels with chopsticks.
Take a Few Deep Breaths Before & After Your Meal
This final tip is probably one of the most important one. In fact, taking a few deep breaths before eating will activate the parasympathetic nervous system, aka the “rest & digest” mode of your body.
It is in this state of relaxation (and NO stress), that the body is able to properly digest and assimilate all of the micro-nutrients present in food.
Taking additional deep breaths after your meal will also allow you to properly assess if you are still hungry for seconds or not. I would recommend waiting at least 10 minutes to give your body the time to signal to the brain that food has been ingested.
I mean, how many times have you gone for seconds only to realize after the very first bite of that second plate that you were indeed completely full already? I know it has happened to me too many times.
Overeating is a big cause of weight gain, indigestion and food comas. Avoid all of that simply by taking a few breaths after your first plate, and thanking your body for processing all of the foods you just ate.
Food can be a powerful form of medicine ONLY IF properly digested and absorbed by the various cells of your body. And that is why eating mindfully is so important. Start incorporating these tips into your health practices and see how much better you feel after a few days!
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