7 Tips to Support Mindful Eating

For many people who are trying to lose weight, diets don’t always do the trick. For example, some individuals aren’t keen on limiting their diets to certain types of foods, while others simply have trouble sticking to new lifestyle changes.

If this sounds like you, don’t worry - there’s good news. Sometimes, it doesn’t take a huge change to change your eating habits. In fact, oftentimes, a few small changes can amount to much more than one large one.

One of the small changes that we’ve incorporated into our lives is mindful eating, which just takes the “mindfulness” trend we’re sure you’ve heard of, and incorporates it into the way we consume our food.

Mindful eating is exactly what it sounds like - eating mindfully - but it’s a lot easier to pull off when you’re equipped with some specific tips about what eating mindfully actually means. So, if you’re looking to lose weight - or perhaps simply to incorporate mindfulness into your life in a new way - check out the tips below to get you educated and started on mindful eating:

1. Take Note of Your Emotional State

We all have individual feelings - besides hunger - that drive us to eat. Oftentimes, when we think about emotional eating, we only consider the negative emotions, but in fact there is an endless list of emotional states that affect us in this way, and many of them might even be considered “positive” feelings! In order to discover how your emotions affect your eating habits, take note of your emotional state and the underlying cause when you sit down to eat. Realizing that you’re often eating while experiencing feelings of loneliness, sadness, happiness, anger, boredom or any other feeling can help you avoid eating when you’re not actually hungry.

2. Stop Multi-Tasking

Let’s be honest, we’re all guilty of multi-tasking during meals. Life can get busy, and mealtimes often seem like the perfect opportunity to catch up on some work, check text messages, or relax and watch television. However, taking part in other activities while we’re eating can lead to mindless eating, causing us to continue eating long after we feel full. Plus, it takes our attention away from the food we’re putting into our bodies, which is much more important than we often realize.

3. Eat Until Satisfied

Most people know that serving sizes in America are much larger than those throughout the rest of the world, and this has led to a culture of overeating. One of the most obvious ways we see this in our daily lives is in plate sizes, which are often much larger than necessary in consideration with healthy serving sizes. That being said, by eating until we're satisfied, we can avoid overeating. Remember that we always have the opportunity to go for seconds, but filling a huge plate with too much food can make us feel like we have to eat more than we need in order to “finish” the meal.

4. Be Grateful

Taking a moment to feel grateful for the food we’re about to eat has huge effects on the way we approach meals. It’s important to remember that access to healthy, fulfilling food isn’t something that everyone has, and seeing food as a gift that we’ve been granted can create a positive mindset when we sit down for meals. Plus, another way to express gratitude for our food is by packing leftovers, reducing waste and practicing sustainability.

5. Count Your Chews

It’s very common for Americans to eat quickly, and as a result we tend to consume food without the proper amount of chews. This speediness makes mealtime shorter, giving our bodies less time to let us know when they’re full. As a result, we often continue eating long after we should, and one common solution to this problem is counting chews! While some people swear by 30 chews and others by 15, there’s no official number of times we should chew our food, but setting a number for yourself and sticking to it will definitely make a difference in the way you eat. Try it out - it’s tougher than it seems, but when done successfully it can lead to a new mindset!

6. Play With Your Utensils

It may seem counterintuitive, but “playing” with your utensils can actually help foster mindfulness in your eating habits. For example, placing your fork down on your plate after every bite can help slow you eating (and give you a chance to count your chews). Additionally, using chopsticks has a similar effect, and it’s super fun!

Incorporating mindfulness into the way we eat can turn meals into a totally new experience! Whether you’re looking to eating more intuitively or make a simple lifestyle change, try it out and enjoy the results.