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Are You a Mindless Muncher?

The Lifestyle Fitness Program
The Lifestyle Fitness Program
Debi Silber, MS, RD, WHC "The Mojo Coach"

Many things happen when we eat mindfully. First, we’re aware of how much we are eating. We’re more in tune with our body signals which tell us when to eat, how much to eat and when our bodies have had enough. As a result, we tend to overeat less often because we are paying closer attention to what our bodies actually need. Our bodies are determining when to eat as opposed to the event, the clock or the show on TV.

Another benefit to eating mindfully is that we’re able to more fully enjoy our food because we are focused on the flavor, texture, aroma, presentation and atmosphere of our food and surroundings. Our meals are more satisfying and enjoyable, which makes it easier to end the meal without that unfulfilled feeling which keeps us searching for more. One of the most effective ways to do this is to eat slowly, sit down and concentrate on the pleasure the food was designed to give. For many women however, sitting down to a meal may be a rare treat but by sitting down to a meal, many things happen.

 First you’re becoming more aware of the amount, type and reasons why you’re eating. The second positive outcome is better digestion. Your food has an opportunity to be chewed, absorbed and digested more fully so you get the benefit of the nutrients you’re taking in. Lastly, by eating mindfully you’re sending an important message to yourself and others that you are worthy and deserving of some much needed self-care. You are treating yourself with some kindness and respect which overflows to those around you.

 So, how do you eat mindfully? Awareness comes first. You first need to catch yourself eating when you’re not hungry. So often we eat mindlessly when we’re passing food to others, making snacks and meals for our families, preparing dinner, walking past the candy dish at work, reading or watching TV. We may even find ourselves looking to eat when we have a few minutes to spare before our next activity and use food as a way to kill some extra time. Sometimes we may wander into the kitchen, open up the cabinets and wonder why we’re even there! This is mindless eating where distractions and a lack of awareness cause you to take in food when you’re not hungry. So what can you do?

Become more mindful. With greater mindfulness, you learn more about what you need. When you’ve learned what your specific needs are, you can work towards solutions which satisfy those needs.