Have you ever received a stressful phone call and afterwards you suddenly find yourself standing at the kitchen counter munching through a bag of pretzels, and you aren’t even quite sure how you go there? Or do you snack while working at the computer, only to realize your food is gone and you barely remember tasting it? I sure have. Use the following list of 20 ways to eat more mindfully to move into a more thoughtful, gentle way of eating.
Mindless eating is when you unknowingly munch through food without savoring it and enjoying it. This can happen during a busy day when you grab food on the go, or when you are emotionally distracted and distant.
Mindless eating can be especially harmful if you are someone struggling to lose or maintain weight, because all those calories go in but your mind doesn’t calculate that food was enjoyed. Without satisfaction from food, the brain will continue to tell you to eat.
More mindful eating is possible, but it comes with intention and practice.
During the next couple days, try using some of the mindful eating ideas below. Some might be easy for you and others might create quite an internal struggle. You have patterns around food that you enjoy and bring you comfort.
Consider this a grand experiment – rather than forcing yourself to comply, wonder about why it’s so difficult and what would happen if you decided to try it, just for one meal or snack. The goal is not to change the type or amount of food you eat.
When beginning the journey to eat more mindfully, it’s important to allow change to occur gradually. If you force yourself to make too many changes too fast, a part of your brain will rebel. (See this article for more infomation: When We Rebel Against Ourselves and What To Do About It).
Most important, as a Christian I know that true, lasting change only comes by God’s grace, leading, and healing. Ask God to help you be more in tune to how He created your body to be.
New! Free! Faithful Finish Lines, our online healthy eating program for Christian women, is offering a FREE 5 Day Mindful Eating Challenge.
Click here to learn more about the 5 Day Mindful Eating Challenge.
20 Ways to Eat More Mindfully
Here are 20 ways to eat more mindfully. Choose ONE to focus on this week during your meals and snacks:
- Eat more slowly than normal.
- Take a 5 second pause between every bite.
- Put down your fork more often.
- Before each eating opportunity, ask yourself, “How hungry am I on a scale of 1-10?”
- Plate everything you eat. No eating out of bags or boxes!
- Create a beautiful table – pretty dishes, cloth napkin, and flowers.
- Sit in a new place to eat.
- Purchase a new set of plates (they need not be expensive!) just for meals and snacks you eat by yourself.
- Drink a sip of water between bites.
- Only eat sitting down.
- Pray before every meal or snack.
- Pause and notice the color, texture, and aroma of your food before you eat it.
- Acknowledge any thoughts, feelings, and emotions that come up for you as eat. Don’t try to solve anything – simply notice.
- Don’t eat while doing anything else (TV, reading, computer).
- Chew each bite of food thoroughly.
- For one meal or snack a day, eat in silence.
- Switch hands. Try eating with your opposite hand – it’s harder than you might think!
- Try eating with your fork upside down (tines pointed down instead of up).
- Pretend you are a food critic. What would you write to describe this meal?
- Carefully listen and feel for feelings of fullness. Stop when you are somewhat full and decide if you need to keep eating.
- Only eat “in the open” – choose to engage in no secret eating.
When you gradually incorporate these mindful eating techniques into your daily habits, you will see progress! Not only will you savor and enjoy your food so much more, but you will recognize fullness which will lead to maintaining your weight (or losing weight) more easily. Allow yourself grace as you make these healthy changes.
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