Mindful eating: eat less and enjoy more

When you eat too fast, most of the time in front of your computer or TV, you end up by eating too many calories before you even notice it. It takes approximately 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness. Feeling full actually translates into eating less.

Eating slowly and mindfully helps you eat less and it enhances the pleasure of eating. To do that it is important to get rid of all types of distractions and focus only on your meal. While eating slowly and taking smaller bites can be very difficult to do, it is easier to slow the pace if you eat regular meals, and never allow more than four hours to pass between meals.

Some research studies suggest that a slower, more thoughtful way of eating could help with weight problems and maybe steer some people away from processed food and other less-healthful choices.

Mindful eating is based on the Buddhist concept of mindfulness, which involves being fully aware of what is happening within and around you at the moment. In other areas, mindfulness techniques have been proposed as a way to relieve stress and alleviate problems like high blood pressure and chronic gastrointestinal difficulties.

Applied to eating, mindfulness includes noticing the colors, smells, flavors, and textures of your food; chewing slowly; getting rid of distractions and learning to cope with guilt and anxiety about food.

According to Harvard Medical School, here’s what you can do to start gradually with mindful eating:

(1) Set your kitchen timer to 20 minutes, and take that time to eat a normal-sized meal

(2) Try eating with your non-dominant hand; if youre a righty, hold your fork in your left hand when lifting food to your mouth.

(3) Use chopsticks if you dont normally use them.

(4) Eat silently for five minutes, thinking about what it took to produce that meal, from the suns rays to the farmer to the grocer to the cook.

(5) Take small bites and chew well.

(6) Before opening the fridge or cabinet, take a breath and ask yourself, Am I really hungry? Do something else, like reading or going on a short walk...