For a majority of those living in the U.S., the action of eating is seen typically as a task– something usually done in the span of 10-15 minutes with the location often being in a car or in front of a screen. The three-plus meals a day are thrown down the hatch and often in such quantities as to cause discomfort about 20 minutes later along with the realization of having over-eaten. In times of stress or emotional unrest, eating is seen as a comforting activity. The good news: eating mindfully can start with the next meal. Here’s how:
- Eat your meals together – not only will this help maintain a cohesive family and social life but it gets everyone away from the pervasive screens of everyday life, at least during mealtime. Bring attention to the sight, textures, and taste of food while you converse and share with others.
- Check in with yourself to assess hunger level and then serve the amount of food needed to satiate. This improves connection between mind and body as an association is made with serving sizes and satiety levels.
- Reduce temptation to over-eat by serving meals in the kitchen and eating at the dining room, rather than keeping bowls and platters of food on the table. Try not to keep many leftovers as that can be a temptation for distracted eating later on in the day.
- Don’t be the food police. People have to learn for themselves how much food it takes to feel physically satisfied. It can be a challenge not to try to control, especially when trying to ‘help’ child stay thin or healthy. Often, when mealtimes and amounts are controlled, a child may resort to sneaking food and can develop unhealthy eating patterns later in life.
- Ask yourself important questions. Do you only eat healthily when trying to lose weight? Are children and friends hearing disparaging comments you make about your body? Do you feel ashamed when you choose certain foods or eat too much? If so, tackling these problems by enlisting the support of a health coach can help you create positive changes and prevent passing on these issues to other family members, especially children.
Mindfulness techniques, over time, will help establish emotional hunger versus physical hunger. Discover food intolerances and allergies by becoming more aware of how food makes you feel during this process as well.
We all want to be comfortable in our own skin. Be honest & compassionate towards yourself with the quality and quantity of foods you eat, as well as the motivation behind eating.