Mindful eating tips

How to consciously think about what you are putting into your mouth, lose weight and feel great.

Get your weight under control with mindful eating. Linda Smith shows us how

Experts say that mindful eating – which is basically a term for being conscious about what we eat and when and where we eat it – can play a big part in our health and wellbeing and also aid in weight loss and weight management.

Thinking about every forkful of food that we put into our mouths – every taste, every texture, every bite – makes us less likely to overeat, and chewing more slowly means digestive issues are less likely, plus we’ll feel full faster, resulting in us eating less.

It sounds simple enough, but how do we become more mindful?

1. Keep a food journal

Keep a food journal for 14 days; writing down everything you eat (My Fitness Pal is a great app for this).

2. Plan your meals

At the start of each day, plan your meals. Get organised, pack food to take to work with you if necessary and look at what your best take-out options are.

3. Only eat at the table

Never eat standing up or in front of the fridge or cupboard. Never eat on the telephone or in front of the computer.

4. Avoid seconds

Always dish out your portion, then immediately put the remaining food away to prevent going back for seconds.

5. Be aware of portion sizes

Just because our dinnerware is bigger than it was in decades past, it doesn’t mean you have to fill the plate or bowl. Remember to eat until you are full, NOT until your plate (or takeaway container) is empty.

6. Are you really hungry?

Ask yourself: Are you really hungry? We often use eating to bury emotions, avoid anxiety or stress, mistakenly pep up feelings of tiredness, and fill a void of boredom. Or you might just be thirsty. Have a glass of water and wait 20 minutes. Do you still feel hungry?

7. Keep food out of sight

The only food that should be visible in your house is a fruit bowl. All other food should be in non-transparent containers away in the cupboard to help reduce temptation.

8. Make food a sensual experience

Bring all of your senses to the meal experience. Look at the meal; admire the colours, aromas, textures, flavours. Chew slowly and savour each bite. Notice how the food feels as it travels down your throat and into your belly. When we eat slowly it gives our brain time to register fullness. Keep in mind it takes 20 minutes for the brain to register the belly is full.

9. Put your fork down

Eat slowly and put your fork down between mouthfuls.

If you're starting mindful eating it's essential to plan your meals. Browse our collection of delicous and healthy recipes, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for new recipe ideas every week.

Photo: Thinkstock

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The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read our Medical Notice.