Mindful Eating for Weight Loss & Pleasure

Posted On Tuesday, 27 August 2013
Mindful Eating for Weight Loss & Pleasure

Have you ever noticed that you eat while you watch TV, drive, work, talk on the telephone? That sometimes you just eat, mindlessly? Just shoveling food in with no real thought about whether it tastes good, feels good, IS good?

Are you one of the many of us? The people who eat too fast, too thoughtlessly, too unhealthily?  Are you so busy filling the next forkful that you don't even notice the wonderful bite of food already in your mouth?

YIKES! Right?

Since your brain can only really focus on one thing at a time, when you eat while doing something else you far too often miss the subtle signs of fullness that tell you to STOP! At least not until you feel uncomfortable or until you run out of food.

It's a familiar feeling for many of us.

The problem with this is that you won't enjoy your food as much when eating this way, so you have to eat more, more, and more...just to feel satisfied. And that is the fast track to weight gain.

Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures.  It certainly is one of mine.  I have taught my kids that food is not only to be eaten…but appreciated. Savored. Even, dare I say, adored. It's one of the primary ways we bond as a family, and coming together around a heaving table of lovingly made food is a large part of our extended family tradition. It's an expression of love.

Food is not just a necessity of living, it is a way to truly enjoy living.

...........................................................................................

Kids can love food, too.

I see parents…so many, many parents that say  “Oh my kid won’t eat that" or “Wow, your kids will eat that?”

And I enjoy their appreciation of my kids' eating habits. I mean, really, who doesn't enjoy a good kid parenting compliment now and then? But it really isn't that hard to teach kids how to enjoy varied foods, and I relish teaching other parents how to get their kids to eat everything (or, well, mostly everything.)

I'm lucky. I started when mine were young. In the garden with me, planting seeds, weeding. Then in to the kitchen, where they help me prep, chop, cook and then be a taste taster. I love that part.

Here is a BIG secret to getting your kids to eat different things: Ask them to taste what you are cooking as if you are not sure it is ok. Does this NEED anything?  Should I add more salt?  HMMM... do YOU think it needs more? Ask questions, ask their advice and input. What that does is give your child some power to control how the food tastes and learn about seasonings…which is a big part of getting them to try new flavors and sensory experiences. It involves them in a way that makes them feel a part of the process.

Preparing, gathering, cooking and serving food is a social process. And children need to feel a part of it, to, well, claim their part in it. Makes sense, right?

And mine eat everything!  From chicken feet in china town to sweetbreads at the fanciest restaurants around..We can take them anywhere..and they behave..sit quietly..involve themselves in the conversation..and most importantly..order politly and like they should..They eat from the regular menu..NEVER from the kids menu..STAY AWAY FROM KIDS MENUS!!!

Back to Mindful eating…You want to make eating something you think consciously about with each and every bite.

The concept of mindful eating has roots in Buddhist teachings. Just as there are forms of meditation that involve sitting, breathing,..there are teachings for mindful eating.

Mindless eating is grabbing chips..eating on the go…eating while you drive..

Mindful eating is:

Eating with full intention and your complete attention.

Eating is a natural, healthy, and pleasurable activity when it's done to satisfy hunger.

It is also important to note  that to keep your weight under control it is not just about what you eat. But how you eat that matters.

When you choose to eat "mindfully," in other words, giving food and eating your full attention, this will allow you to have optimal satisfaction and enjoyment without eating to excess.

Mindful eating makes it possible for you to experience the difference between physical satisfaction and fullness.

Mindful eating also allows you to feel more satisfied with smaller quantities of food. Something that I find is one of the most important parts of maintaining your weight or even loosing weight..

Learning to savor your food simply makes eating more pleasurable. It can tryuly be as satisfying as sex!  Yes I said food ,,,if appreciated and adored..can be as satisfying as an orgasm!

Knowing what satisfies you and getting the most pleasure from your eating experiences are key factors for a lifetime of weight control.

So here are some tips to learn Mindful eating and enjoy life and your food to the fullest!  ( Not your stomach..the fullest!! LOL )

When eating with your children..one thing my mother taught me very early in life was to NOT eat whats left over on your childrens plates.

It’s a sure way to gain weight quickly.

Start by recognizing whether you're hungry before you begin eating. If you aren't really hungry, then you won’t care what you choose or how you prepare it…so you won’t enjoy it..also,  if what you think is a craving and it doesn't really come from hunger, eating won’t satisfy it anyway.

Don't wait until you're famished. One of the keys to conscious eating is to keep your body adequately fed to avoid becoming overly hungry which increases the chance that you'll overeat.

You can actually decide how full you want to be when you're finished eating. When you eat with the intention of feeling better when you're done eating, you're less likely to keep eating until the food is gone.

Set a pretty table…. Creating beautiful place to sit and enjoy your meal makes it feel more special and adds to the enjoyment of eating. You will eat less.

Eat without distractions. If you eat while you're distracted by watching television, driving, or talking on the telephone, you won't be giving your food or your body's signals your full attention. As a result, you may feel full but not satisfied.

Eat when you're sitting down. Choose one or two particular areas at home and at work that are only used for eating and eat only there. For example, do not eat while standing over the sink, peering into the refrigerator or sitting in bed.

Take a few breaths before you begin eating. This will help you slow down and give eating your full attention.

Appreciate the aroma and the appearance of your food. Notice the colors, textures, and smells of the food and imagine what it will taste like.

Decide which food looks the most appetizing and start eating that food first. If you save the best until last, you may want to eat it even if you are full.

Put your fork down between bites

If you are not enjoying your food...Stop eating it…move on to something else or prepare another dish.

Notice if you feel uncomfortable when you are done..

If you put yourself into a “food coma”  you won’t really have had a great experience. If you feel really disgusted with yourself..put those feelings aside and tell your self that your next meal..will be great  and you will eat healthy..and pay attention to everything you put into your mouth.

After  all...my mother was not wrong about many things...and on this topic...she was the master!


Melanie Cole, MS

Melanie Cole, MS, is the RadioMD Director of Operations. She has a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology/Kinesiology.

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