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It may sound like something for… well, hippies, but “eating mindfully” really just means paying attention to what you’re eating and making intentional choices about what, when, and how much you eat.
To better explain what eating mindfully means, it’s helpful to consider the opposite: eating mindlessly.
- Most often we find ourselves eating mindlessly when our attention is on something else: our phones and the television are two common distractions.
- When we eat mindlessly, we don’t take time to consider what we’re eating, our portion sizes, or even whether we’re actually hungry. This can lead to weight gain.
- Eating this way, it is easy to finish an entire bag of chips before you realize what you are doing.
- When getting a snack, we consider calories and choose an option that is tasty but still fits our plan.
- We portion out the food before sitting down to eat, to make sure we don’t eat more than we intend to.
- If we’ve had a tasty snack and finished our portion, we stop to consider whether we are still hungry before we get another helping.
- If we are not hungry, we stop eating! While there is nothing morally wrong with eating for pleasure (it’s not bad), it does not help when we are trying to lose weight.
- If we do eat more than our weight loss plan allows, we don’t consider the day “ruined” and binge. Take each decision one at a time.
As you can see, eating mindfully is not anything mystical, and doesn’t require you begin meditating or start wearing yoga pants. It’s just a helpful way of being more intentional about the choices you make. It is the opposite of eating mindlessly.