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  • Sharon Benzvi

7 Steps to Mindful eating

What is Mindfulness anyway? Mindfulness is the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.

So when we’re referring to mindful eating we’re talking about an approach that can help us acknowledge and manage our emotions and physical feelings. Using this approach will help you reach a state of full awareness to your experiences, cravings, and physical cues when eating.

How can mindful eating actually help you?

When you tune in and listen to what your body REALLY NEEDS and not REALLY WANTS.

What are your cues? Are they emotional? (I’m sad - I’ll have a slice of cake) or external? (This cookie looks good).

Now listen, I don’t mean that 100% of the time you need to eat ONLY when you’re hungry, because, you know, life… and food is a big part of our emotional and social worlds, but even when you WANT a cookie, do it with full intention, be mindful about it so you’ll have a cookie or two and not the whole bag and that you’ll really enjoy it.

Mindful eating gives you the skills you need to deal with impulses. It puts you in charge of your responses instead of at the whim of your instinct (you see a bag of cookies on the counter and you automatically grab one or two).

This is all backed up by science - in a research, there were 2 groups of people - one that did a meditation and had a chocolate bar after and the other just had the chocolate bar. They found that both groups had the same amount of chocolate but the group that meditated before eating the chocolate adjusted their calorie intake later in the day, taking into calculation the chocolate they had.

What can you do to be mindful about eating?

* Do I really want this? Take a brief pause before you have the first bite, ask yourself if you’re really hungry. What do you feel? Bored? Tired? Thirsty? hungry?

And then think if you really want that specific food? Many times, especially with sweets, we eat something and then we say - oh it wasn’t even good.. or - it wasn’t worth it. So stop and think if it’s good enough to eat it, even after your first bite - you can stop and assess again if it was good.

* Sit down and eat. Don’t get distracted by TV, Phone, driving and so on…

* Don’t have lunch by your desk. You can multitask but your brain can only fully pay attention to one thing at a time. You inhaled your lunch and didn’t even notice it.

* Do a mid meal assessment. sometime we eat just because that’s the portion we got, but we don’t really have to. We can finish our meal later, when we’re hungry again. Finish half of your portion and decide if you’re still hungry or not.

* Chew! You can hear yourself crunch your food which is a sensory cue that helps you regulate how much you eat, it also helps you eat slower.

* Put down the utensils. Often we’re getting our next bite ready even before we have finished the current bite. Take your time and enjoy every bite at a time.

* Walk away from the table. Many times when we’re done eating and we feel full but we still sit at the table (especially in a family style dinner but even if you just didn’t finish 100% of your own meal) we’ll just keep gazing at the food. Not because we’re hungry - but just because it’s there - right in front of us. Remember - out of sight - out of mind.

Need some more help on how to be more mindful and how to be healthier?

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