I am known, among my friends, for stuffing my face with food as soon as I sit down at the table. I have this urge to just eat everything.
I don’t know what causes me to eat everything. Actually, I know the cause. I love food. But loving food should be done in a healthier fashion.
“Pace yourself, take 5 or 10 minutes when you eat. There are no cops chasing you.” Yelled my girlfriend at the dinner table one night. Upset about what she said, I took on the challenge to eat slow.
Over the next couple of days, I sat down with my stopwatch app and set a timer for 10 minutes. If I finished early, I would hold myself until the 9th minute to eat the last bite.
Since practicing mindful eating I have lost around 10 lbs and food has never tasted better.
Let the mind catch up!
Our minds take time to realize when we are full. If you are inhaling a sandwich real fast, your mind won’t be able to judge if you are full.
The mind takes around 15 – 20 minutes to feel full. Eating slowly helps your mind catch up to your stomach.
Cravings are another part I struggle with often. One of my many vices is lathering my tongue with the sweet flavors of a cookie or ice cream after my meals.
This habit infiltrated other meals of the day. Soon I was eating junk food all the time. My jeans started to become extremely tight. When my waist size went up 2 sizes, I realized I needed to end the habit.
What are cravings anyways? Cravings are just these urges that are developed by the obese devil in my mind. He sits in his mighty throne with his pitchfork roasting marshmallows’ on the fires of my urges. Cravings are the desire for wanting a special kind of food.
Slowing down to eat and feeling all the sensations made me realize how bad junk food is. Half the time when I ate chips, cookies, or ice cream, I did not even taste it.
I remember slowly chewing on a bag of lays potato chips. The salty flavor and aftertaste was unbearable. Nothing against the bag of chips but the bombardment of salt flavor really turned me off.
I thought I was alone in this but there is a recent study that helps support mindful eating practice.
“You’re training the mind to notice, but to not automatically react based on habitual patterns — to not reach for a candy bar in response to feeling anger, for example,” said researcher Jennifer Daubenmier in a press release. “If you can first recognize what you are feeling before you act, you have a greater chance of making a wiser decision.”
In the study, the Mindful training consisted of focusing on the sensations of each food. The women were trained to bring their awareness to each moment as they chew on the food. This helped them give insight into experiencing the sensory feelings of eating.
Although it is inconclusive due to the small group size, it still shows positive signs of creating healthy eating habits.
6 tips for Mindful Eating
- Grab your meal and a stop watch. Set the timer to 10 – 15 minutes and start eating your meal.
- Close your eyes and inhale deep through the nose before chewing. Chew slowly. Inhale and swallow.
- Use non dormant hand. If you are a righty then use your left hand to eat with. This will slow your eating tremendously. Might feel awkward at first. But don’t worry, it will be worth it.
- Reflection. List all the ingredients in your mind as you eat. Think about the effort that went into the cooking. How long it took. Etc..
- Eat in smaller bowls or plates. In smaller bowls you will think you have more than enough food. Make the switch.
- Use chopsticks. It is hard to pick up large amounts of food with chopsticks. So you will spend more time eating. Which will help your mind catch up to your gut.