Mind Your Eating
Diets come and go, the adage says. To lose weight more effectively, we are told to change our eating habits. Understanding how the body responds to urges to eat and the pleasures of food, plus what we as individuals know about nutrition (e.g. where we get our nutrition/eating information) can help us analyze our weight gain/loss. Getting an honest assessment of our eating habits is a healthy start towards changing them.
When I think of eating habits, I think of how much I eat, when I eat, where I eat, and who I eat with. Recently, many studies have been conducted analyzing eating, including how much our eating partners eat, room temperature and lighting, the variety of foods available at the meal, pace, recognizing hunger intensity, and even how big our plates are.
A recent group of graduate students and staff at the Universiy of Illinois held a buffet-style ice cream social. Some group members were given a small bowl, and some were given a large bowl. When surveyed, all participants felt they served themselves the same amount of ice cream - but it turned out those with the larger bowls consumed 57% more.
New book Eat, Drink, and Be Mindful by psychologist Susan Albers gives these additional tips to bring mindfulness to our eating habits:
-Enjoy Your Eating: Take the time to smell your food, feel the texture and the temperature of it, how it really tastes, and if it satisfies your taste buds.
-Change Your Pace: Add chopsticks, take your food outdoors, try a new food, or put your fork down at least 3 times during a meal to take a pause.
-Concentrate: While it is easy and tempting to eat as you work, talk on the phone or answer emails, avoid distractions to focus on your food. Give your snack its deserved attention.
-Know Your Hunger: Pay attention to the cues your body is sending when hunger arrives. What is the first sign? Rate your hunger on a scale of 1-10 before deciding if/what to eat. If your hunger is emotionally driven, set a timer of two minutes and keep busy to see if the urge passes.
Paying attention to the ways and reasons why we eat can help form healthier eating habits. Who would have thought that slowing down and tasting our food is an enjoyable and healthy way to lose weight? Minor adjustments now, will over time lead to healthy weight loss and weight management.
Enjoy Your Exercise. Enjoy Your Day.
- briansemonian posted this