Updated: Aug 12, 2021
There is a strong link between mind and body and when it comes to mealtimes this is no exception. To maximise your efforts to manage your weight, be it for healthy weight loss, healthy weight gain, or health maintenance, I have some very useful and easy-to-follow 10 tips that I want to share with you. There is evidence to show that those who practice mindful eating have healthy weights and are in generally good health compared to those that do not. Mindful Eating enables you to eat sensibly and leaves you feeling satisfied and happy. Practice my Mindful Eating tips at each meal and see how you feel.
1. Sit and Eat off a plate
Aim to make sure that when you are eating you are sitting down, and you eat off a plate not a Tupperware box as portion in this way can be deceiving. This also improves the traditional feeling of eating meals and increases your awareness of what you are eating which decreases the chances of mindless eating or overeating.
2. Take a breather and relax
Take some time to see everything that is on your plate, the different foods, the colours, the textures. Then take some deep breaths in and out which helps you to slow down the breath and mentally and can help move your body into the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), preparing your body to take in food more effectively. The PNS is responsible for the body’s rest and digestion response when our bodies are resting, calm, and eating.
3. Eat slowly
Eat slowly to give your mind and your body time to process what you’re consuming and not overwhelm your digestive system. Try to make each meal last at least 20 minutes.
4. Chew thoroughly.
This not only helps with our digestion, but it also boosts our body’s signals of feeling satisfied/full which indicates to us to stop eating. Studies have shown we should try to chew each mouthful 19 times. Why not add one and go for 20.
5. Use every sense if you can
As you eat, pay attention to the food you are eating, all the colors and textures, and especially the taste. Food is much more enjoyable when eaten in a multisensory way. In order to fully benefit from this, try to limit any distractions and just focus on eating and enjoying your meal.
6. Enjoy every bite
Try to really enjoy each meal and each bite of that meal. This is good for overall well-being and also helps towards improving our relationship with food. Aim to remove negative emotions of deprivation which are often associated with past failed attempts at weight loss. Remember that it is not about perfection.
7. Cutlery hack
Put your cutlery (spoon/knife and fork down in between each mouthful, and chew thoroughly. Again, take your time. This will help you to place your meal, slow down and relax as well as facilitate the restorative calm that mealtimes should be.
8. Pay attention to your body cues.
Rate your hunger between 1-10, 1 being content and not hungry and 10 being extremely hungry. Aim to only eat when you are physically hungry aka stomach hunger (instead of bored or stressed aka head hunger), and aim to eat until you are satisfied, leaving yourself neither stuffed nor starving.
9. Avoid stress eating
Aim to avoid eating while you are stressed. This can be challenging as some may eat as a form of comfort. If you do tend to eat when you are stressed or upset as a form of comfort, try to think of ways that you can nourish yourself in other loving ways that do not involve eating. What do you enjoy doing and try to make a list and aim to do those things when stressed.
10. Pace yourself
Where possible, aim to have 30 minutes to fully digest before doing anything the is very physical. This will help with digestion and preventing indigestion.
Amanda specialises in weight management, health improvement & food sensitivity. She believes we should eat to thrive, not deprive. She helps clients improve their health through empowerment, motivation & knowledge through evidence-based guidance & behaviour change. She’s a registered associate nutritionist with the AfN. If you'd like to know more, get your free nutrition assessment to get the best nutritional advice for you.