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What is mindful eating?
Everywhere we look we are tempted with food choices, from advertising, to placements in tv shows and the #foodporn obsession that rules social media. But the healthiest people in the world, and the ones who live the longest, as in 100+ years, all share several habits in common and one of them is eating mindfully.
Here are 7 things you can start doing this week to help you eat more mindfully.
Stop Eating Before You Are Full
There is an old diet trick to always leave one bit of food on your plate. This has two benefits: one is self-control and the other is to stop yourself from eating to the point of being overstuffed. It takes our brains about 20-30 minutes to get the signal from the stomach that we’ve had enough to eat. Keep eating right up until that signal hits and you will definitely have eaten too much. stop eating sooner than you think and wait 20-30 minutes. If you’re still hungry you can always have more.
Try Not To Eat Alone
Eating, across every culture is a social event. Yet today with packed schedules and many city dwellers having long commutes, we tend to eat rushed, between appointments or maybe exhausted at the end of the day. Whenever you can, try to buddy up and eat with someone, even via phone or video chat. Chances are you won’t eat as much and you’ll feel more satisfied too.
If It Grows, Eat It.
This is a tip from Louise Hay that I absolutely love “If it grows, eat it. If it doesn’t don’t.” While this is not always entirely possible, most of us could do better on this one – #goals! Try and focus your diet around vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and legumes. You’ll find your body cleaner and your mind clearer.
Nothing With a Label
This is another juicy bit of wisdom from the iconic Ms. Hay in her book Heal Your Body. Although like the previous tips can be a little hard to do 100% it is a step in the right direction. Everything with a label on it has preservatives in it, and you have to ask yourself if you want all of this continually in your system? A good start would be to cut out labeled foods one day a week or even for one meal every day. I always have more energy and am in a better mood whenever I do this.
Limit Your Consumption of Coffee and Alcohol
Oh yes! Two of our favorite vices, but notably absent from cultures where people live the longest. Heavy alcohol consumption puts undue stress on the liver and both are dehydrating and strain the digestive system. Another good reason is that the body will burn the calories from booze first before it burns any fat making it more difficult to maintain a healthy body weight.
Try opting for more water, herbal tea, and an occasional glass of wine instead.
Sugar occurs naturally in a lot of foods, especially fruits and dairy. It also hides out in less obvious places like breads and most prepackaged and processed foods so it’s tough to dodge. It also gives you that kind of addictive buzz thanks to a surge of the neurotransmitter dopamine as soon as we eat it. More to the point, it just tastes good and feels great! But there are obvious drawbacks such as weight gain, lack of interest in healthier foods and of course the sugar crash. If you really have a sweet tooth (and I do!) opt for more natural choices like fruits, fresh or dried and honey. And don’t skip meals! That is when you are most likely to cave.
Note: You might also want to try the 21-Day Sugar Detox
Mute the Food Porn
As our social media intake increases so does our intake of all of those beautiful pictures of perfectly prepared food! This influences both your cravings and your habits. If you see a lot of posts of indulgent deserts or fried items, there’s a higher chance that you’ll eat them. The same is true for pictures of fresh fruits and vegetables; see more of those you are more likely to make that food choice. Temporarily mute accounts that have a lot of rich, sugary, high fat foods. Out of sight often equals out of mind.
Mindful eating encourages you to take care of your body, and your mind through a simple practice of something we do several times each day: eat. It’s about balance, health, community and is a great way to kick the latest fad diet.