Mind Games

Zen_DietAt a weight- loss standstill? Fast eating could be the culprit.
By Pamela Peeke, MD

You hear it all the time: Eat mindfully and you’ll not only enjoy your meal, but also it’ll be easier to shed weight. Sounds like a win-win.

But most of us hop out of bed at o’dark hundred and hit the ground running. We race out the front door and skip breakfast, do a grab-and-go, or engage in dashboard dining. It’s hard to taste and savor when within seconds a meal or snack is gulped and out of sight.

It’s also hard to drop that excess weight when frenzied feasting doesn’t allow enough time–20 minutes–for the mind to register you’ve eaten enough to satisfy your body’s needs. That’s why when you slow your eating, you allow your body and brain chemicals to work optimally. Your reward is better enjoyment of your food, fewer calories consumed, and–some studies show–more weight loss.

Want to boost your weight goals by eating more mindfully? First, you need to pay attention to what you put in your mouth–and when. Start here.

Unplug. Turn off the TV, don’t answer the phone, and get away from the computer (that includes your smartphone) while you’re eating. Distractions of any kind foster mindlessness, making it easier to overeat.

Switch hands. To become aware of your pace of eating, use your nondominant hand or switch to a smaller utensil and a smaller plate. A timer will help you see how long you can go between bites.

Monitor portions. Control portion sizes by using measuring cups (try one-quarter and one-half cup sizes). Most people underestimate how much they really dole out on a plate.

Enjoy the moment. Close your eyes and breathe in the smell of your food. Really taste and feel it in your mouth. Notice how quickly that urge for another mouthful arises, and wait for that moment when you realize you’ve had enough.

Article from WebMD.COM magazine, March/April 2013

 

Written by: | May 1, 2013

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