Manage Weight With Mindful Eating
Christmas is over but we’re still in the midst of the holiday season with all its parties and festive gorging – um, I mean eating. Another week to go of playing hide and seek with calories. I just survived several parties and I’m happy to say that I got to enjoy various Christmas delicacies without putting on any weight. How did I do it? Little did I know that I had been practising mindful eating, a weight management
approach which I’ve only just heard about.
According to a recent article in the Washington Post, mindful eating is a spin-off from a lifestyle practice called mindfulness, which is about slowing down to savour life’s details, noticing small things and appreciating every sensation. Mindful eating is not a diet. Instead, it focuses on the way you eat, rather than what you eat. So, instead of eating haphazardly and mindlessly at meals, shovelling food into your mouth, you:
- Decide in advance how much to eat, and what to eat. Rather than piling food on your plate, be selective about what you choose to put into your body. Brian Wansink, author of the book “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think”, goes further by suggesting that you make half that amount vegetables and fruit, the other half protein and starch. Psychologist Susan Albers advises that before taking anything, you should ask yourself whether you really want to eat that item. Would you really enjoy it? Are you really so hungry? Take only what you really, really want.
- Before you start eating, pause and soak in all the sights, sounds and scents of the gathering. If it’s a holiday party, enjoy the atmosphere. Train yourself to use all your senses to relish the food.
- Take your time to savour your food. Appreciate how every morsel smells and tastes. Notice the temperature and texture. Put your cutlery down while you slowly chew each bite, enjoying every moment.
- After you’ve fully savoured each bite and swallowed, then pick up your cutlery again and enjoy another bite.
- Try to be the last to finish eating. Eat slowly. Don’t rush the experience.
- By the end of the meal, you will not only be full, but truly satisfied.
Some tricks to help you remove obstacles to healthy eating include not arriving at a meal hungry, as that may cause you to wolf down more than you should. Another one is using small plates rather than large dinner plates. Your food portions will then seem more substantial. Using tall, thin glasses instead of short, squat ones will also help control your fluid intake without reducing the pleasure. Thin glasses hold less liquid. If your host presses you to take a second helping, take a teaspoonful rather than a full serving. This way, you satisfy your host without sacrificing your waistline.
Eat mindfully, and you’ll probably enjoy your meals and the company more than ever before, and without weight gain too.