You are in the kitchen standing, your favorite cake is on the countertop looking tasty. You cut a sliver, yes, just a taste. Before you know it, half the cake is gone. Where? Into your stomach and you weren’t even hungry. You just practiced mindless eating.
You got up this morning, ate a great breakfast and went to work. You get there, settled and decided to have your second cup of coffee. You go to the breakroom and right by the coffee machine is a box of doughnuts. You pick up your favorite kind and eat it even though you finished breakfast about an hour ago. Again you just ate mindlessly.
In both cases you were not paying attention or aware of what you were doing. Many of our eating habits and routines cause us to eat mindlessly resulting overeating, weight gain, and indigestion. We do it subconsciously. Studies show that distractive eating causes “fake” hunger, overconsumption of foods and slow metabolism.
Slowing down is an easy cure for mindless eating. You can avoiding it starting right now. Slow down even if you are in a hurry. Here are some suggestions how:
- Always sit down. You should absolutely avoid eating while you are standing. Take a moment and sit down. Whether at home or office find a space where you will not get distracted.
- Your meal or snack time is for eating. Don’t eat while you are doing something else. Stop whatever you are doing. Take a break. Multitasking causes mindless eating.
- Treat your mealtime as quiet or relaxing time. Leave distractions away especially the electronic kind, the world can wait a few minutes (unless you are an emergency room doctor on call) and please turn the TV Off.
- Set up your table. A set table will help create a relaxed surrounding. It does not need to be elaborate and can be minimal.
- Set up your plate and always use silverware. You should consider using a small plate and small silverware for portion control. Never eat foods out of a package always put the food on a plate.
- Avoid have your foods’ serving bowls and trays on your eating table. Leave those in the kitchen. For more food you will have to get up and choose to get more. It will force you to consider your hunger levels. It will slow you down from mindlessly digging into what’s in front of you or tempting you to eat something because it’s there.
- Focus on your food. Look at your food, be thankful and enjoy its colors and aroma.
- Eat slowly to savor your food’s flavors. Want to force a slow down? Try eating with your other hand for a meal or two. Alternatively, eat with chopsticks, bite by bite.
- Put your fork down between bites, let it rest while you chew. Don’t shovel your food.
- Chew well. Chew at least 12 times for hard foods and 6 times for softer foods. This will help with both tasting the food, employing digestive enzymes and slowing you down.
- Pay attention to your body while you eat. Listen carefully to your breathing. Heavier breathing suggests that your stomach is full. These are you “I am full signals”. They show up before your mind knows it. Time to stop eating. These signals are easy to miss when you are distracted.
- Only eat from your own plate. Don’t take from for others’ plates.
- Don’t be a plate finisher. Leave one or two bites on your plate.
- Clear up the table, put away the foods and the dishes.
When you eat in a slow and relaxed state you will experience joy, improved digestion and metabolism. As a bonus, you will eat less. Making these small and easy changes will support your health. Stopping mindless eating is easy, all you need is choose to do it.