Many of us are unable to recall what we ate last, let alone the sensations we felt during the meal. This is called mindless eating. For our bodies to digest food it needs to release stomach juices to help breakdown the food in our stomach. The smell, taste and sight of food help to release these juices and prepares the body to digest food. When we eat while distracted on our phones or we eat our meals too quickly, our bodies may not be ready for the food that has entered the body and digestion can be slow, which can lead to indigestion and overeating.
Here are some tips on how to step away from mindless eating and practice mindful eating
1. Plan– Plan and prepare your meals the week or night before to limit decision making when it is time to eat. Deciding what to eat when hungry can lead to poor food choices.
2. Put away distractions– Sit at the table with your meal, put your phone away and turn off the Tv. Eating when distracted can lead to overeating and poor digestion.
3. Appreciate your meal– spend 20 minutes enjoying the food you have chosen to nourish your body. Chew your food 20 times and put your knife and fork down after each mouthful. Think about the taste, texture and smell of each food and how it makes you feel.
4. Check in with yourself– take the time to assess your feelings. Are you stressed, tired or overwhelmed? Are you hungry or eating out of boredom and enjoyment? Identify whether you are eating to your hunger cues or emotionally eating.