With so many things to do during a busy day, a lot of people either rush to eat lunch during the working hours. Later during the day, many tend to munch on anything they can find in the fridge while winding down in front of their screens. Most probably can’t keep track of how much and what they eat in such circumstances which can put a great toll on the body. Instead of letting your hunger impulse control your eating habits, becoming mindful about food is a great way to keep your health and weight in check. Here are 10 tips on how you can achieve just that.
1. Use Smaller Plates
Sometimes, we may unconsciously put large portions of food when we are offered large plates which can increase* calorie intake. Brian Wansink, Ph.D. conducted a study with graduate students during a Super Bowl party who were either given small or large plates. He found that subjects given larger plates ate 146 calories more than the small plate group.
2. Leave the Leftovers on the Table
In a similar study, Brain Wansink observed that leaving leftover wings on the table resulted in the subjects eating less food than when the leftovers were removed from the table. Leaving your leftovers helps you keep track of how much you ate making you more aware of your calorie intake.
3. Don’t Eat while doing Something Else
Jan Chozen Bays M.D., author of Mindful Eating explains how eating in front of the computer distracts our attention from the process of eating. When we do this, chances are that we are going to overeat without even knowing it because our mind is focused on something else.
4. Increase* your Attention
To combat mindless eating, Bays suggest being more in the moment even when taking the first sip of coffee in the morning. In this way, you’ll establish a habit of being aware of how much and what you eat. This, in turn, will help you gain more control over your eating habits.
5. Slow down
While meeting deadlines and hurrying to get to work on time can make you prone to rushing through things in your life, eating in a hurried manner can make you eat more than you actually need. One study found that eating slowly results in lower calorie intake and more water consumption when compared to eating food quickly. This is because it takes time for the satiety response to kick in which is exactly why we need to make the time for our stomachs to register the food we’ve eaten.
6. Eat like you are Alone
One study on the effects of eating habits in the elderly during social gatherings found that, on average, people ate more calories when they ate together than when they were alone. Eating in groups may distract our minds from the food which makes us eat more. One way to combat this is to keep an eye on our portions while we are eating together with other people.
7. Make a Relaxing Ambient
Soft ambient light and music may help you eat less according to an article published in Psychology Reports: Human Resources & Marketing. In this article, researchers explain that fast food restaurants tend to use bright lights and colors and loud music which may contribute to overeating. In contrast, eating in a more relaxing environment increases* satisfaction and makes you eat much less.
8. Reconsider Your Portions
The problem may not lie in the amount of food on your plate but rather the type of food. Try increasing* the portion of vegetable-based side dish and reducing* the amount of meat, protein and fat that is on your platter.
9. Take some time for yourself
Jan Chozen Bays M.D. also suggests that we should try eating alone and in silence at least once a week to practice mindful eating. In this way, you will be able to pay attention to the smell, taste, and feel of your food as well as your bodily responses and the amount you eat. After a while, mindful eating will become your daily habit.
10. Become Aware
Michelle May, MD, founder of the Am I Hungry? Workshop states that increasing* one’s awareness of food and eating is important if we want our behavior towards food to change. Increasing* your understanding of the role of food in your life will help you gain control over compulsive eating habits.
Mindful eating means paying full attention to the process of eating inside and outside the body according to Jan Chozen Bays Ph.D. Mindless eating, on the other hand, means we eat out of compulsion, unaware if we are eating out of hunger, sadness, or just because we are addicted to a taste. Becoming aware of one’s eating patterns is important in maintaining good health and body weight.