The #1 Reason Why We Overeat

 

Have you ever had any of these experiences?Mindful Eating

While watching TV, you don’t even realize that you are emptying the whole bag of chips, or two huge helpings of dinner.

Or maybe it’s been a stressful week, you’re tired and didn’t get a chance to eat lunch. You are craving something sweet. The cookies you bought are calling your name – Loudly – Maybe you will have just a couple while you make dinner.

You are at party with an awesome spread of food. You start off with a small plate but as the night wears on it’s so easy to continue grazing while you are talking with everyone.

It happened to me the other night.. A whole bar of dark chocolate vanished in seconds. Only the remnants of the heat from the chile pepper still burning my tongue lasted longer than the moments it took for me to swallow it ALL. It’s pretty unusual for me to eat like that, however I was watching my favorite TV show and wasn’t really paying attention.

I was reminded (again) of how important it is to pay attention to what and how we eat so that we avoid overeating. A recent study showed that people who ate mindfully on average ate 300 few calories a day. Others studies have shown that slowing down and eating mindfully significantly reduces stress eating, reduces depression, along with reduced belly aches and bloating by improving digestion.

What does it mean, to eat mindfully? Simply put it is to be aware of the food and your surroundings.
Food is one of the few things that engages all 5 senses. Taste, Touch, Smell, Sight, and you can Hear when you chew or when food being cooked. Not only does what we eat nourish us but when we eat mindfully it can be deeply satisfying – as in Bye-Bye Food Cravings.

It may seem a little silly – to stop and pay attention to what we eat. After all there is so much to do and slowing down, well it takes more time, time that we could be doing something else “more important”. Here’s the kicker though, and what I see time and time again with those I work with:

The more mindful you are, the more you eat and live according to your priorities, goals or desires, the more satisfied you are with your choices and the happier and healthier your life is. Soul Satisfyingly Good.

Maybe that sounds unbelievable, however I have watched lives completely change because of placing a priority on awareness. New jobs, travel, new houses, better relationships.

 

5 Tips to Put an End to Overeating

Think about whether or not you are hungry. The next time you are feeling snack-ish (particularly after dinner) take a moment and think about if you are truly hungry or not. Sometimes we are thirsty and our body confuses hunger for thirst. (Check out why water is important). Other times we are craving something else. Maybe its boredom, tiredness, or feeling stressed out. Once you know why you are craving a food, it’s easier to choose something else. Try exercise, going to bed a little earlier, eating breakfast consistently or ask for a hug.

Turn off the TV. Sit at the table and before you start to eat, take a moment and look at your food. Smell it. I often give this little experiment as homework: Choose one meal a day and for 3 days straight eat with the tv on, music on and then in silence (no reading either!). See which one you feel most full and satisfied.

Put your fork down between bites. Most of the time we don’t chew enough. Here’s why chewing is so important. Taste your food. You may find that you enjoy some foods more that you thought you did. As a fun experiment use chopsticks.

Use a smaller plate. This is particularly helpful at buffets or all-you can-eat situations where it’s easy to over fill your plate. If a smaller plate isn’t available fill only half of your plate. You can always go back for more. Wait a few minutes before leaping up for round two and think about whether or not you really are hungry.

There is no good or bad food. Food just is. Let go of categorizing or emotionalizing food. Yes, some food is healthier than others. What is important is what we do with the food… Believe me, I felt no guilt or remorse about eating a whole chocolate bar – other than the experience wasn’t as enjoyable as it could have been had I been mindful. I wasn’t concerned about excess calories or fat because overall everything I ate that day and for the week was healthy. Initially I mindfully chose to have chocolate.

Experiment for a week and see what you notice. Make time for and enjoy the one thing that can give you more energy, focus and clarity.

Now it’s your turn. How has being more mindful changed how you eat. Leave a comment below.

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