You don’t have to love yoga and become a minimalist to practice mindful eating. For me, mindful eating has simply come to mean, that I am eating without distraction. Today, our environment is so packed with distractions, that our minds can’t pay attention to the food going into our mouths! When you choose to eat mindfully, you are able to pay attention to what you are eating, how much you are eating, and most importantly, how satisfying your food can be.
As I’ve been practicing mindful eating for the last 6 months, I’ve developed a few rules for myself to keep me on track! Not only has it helped me to lose weight for the first time in 20+ years of trying, but it has truly made it effortless. (read my weight loss success story here)
Mindful Eating Rule #1 Never Bring your phone to the kitchen table.
You may be great about being present for dinner or when you are eating out with friends, but if you are ever eating alone, this can be a huge problem. Checking email or social media on your phone, while you eat can not only cause you to eat more food, but also rob you of the enjoyment of the meal. Put the phone away and focus on the food.
Mindful Eating Rule #2 Plate all your food.
There is nothing mindful about a handful of food, straight out of the package. No matter what the food is, simply put it on your plate, and take it to the table. Period. No exceptions. Even those goldfish crackers!
Mindful Eating Rule #3 Never eat in the car
On a normal day, you will never have so many hours between eating that makes it necessary to eat in the car. No one really needs to eat 6 mini meals a day, unless they are getting ready for a body building contest. The rest of us regular people, really don’t need that much food! So, see how long you can go between meals if you have to drive somewhere, but eating in the car, by nature is distracting.
Mindful Eating Rule #4 Chew slowly
The slower you can eat a meal, the more you are able to pay attention to the food you are eating. The flavors, the texture, and the satisfaction will be magnified by slowing down, putting the fork down between bites, and chewing very slowly. Studies show, the slower you chew your food, the less you will eat.
Mindful Eating Rule #5 Never stand up to eat
Choose where you will eat your meals, most likely the kitchen table, and make a rule for yourself to never eat while standing up. It’s easy to over eat and not pay attention to the food if you are standing. Chances are likely, you aren’t just standing, but are walking around and multi-tasking while you should just be eating.
Mindful Eating Rule #6 Pause before you scarf down the food
Some people choose to pray before the eat, or meditate, but simply quieting the chaos of the day, just for a few moments, before you begin eating, can set the tone for your meal.
Mindful Eating Rule #7 Never eat in front of the TV
The television (or Youtube) is so distracting, that studies have shown a 50% increase in the amount of food eaten while watching TV without any change in how full or satisfied someone was with that meal. Watching TV while you eat should never become a habit, and if it is, promise yourself to make this rule stick.
Mindful Eating Rule #8 Never stand by the dessert or snack table.
Agh! This can be detrimental to your resolve to eat mindfully! If you are ever at a party, potluck or buffet, where you mingle and eat at the same time, standing by the food can crack anyone’s willpower. Stand at the opposite side of the party from the food. Even if you aren’t able to eat mindfully during the social event, you can at least be comforted by the chance you will eat less food overall.
Mindful Eating Rule #9 Don’t take food on the go, “just in case”.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that we need food ALL THE TIME! In fact, as a health professional, I used to parrot this idea as well! I would say, “you don’t want to be caught somewhere without a snack! Keep an apple or a granola bar in your purse, just in case!” I couldn’t have been more wrong. We are not starving now, nor will we ever be. Bringing food in your purse is 100% likely to be eaten somewhere where you can’t eat it mindfully.
Mindful Eating Rule #10 ENJOY YOUR FOOD
Food was meant to be enjoyed! Why in the world are we trying to make food sinful or off limits. The most wonderful thing I’ve learned from mindful eating over the last few months is that I don’t have to be ashamed about loving food. I don’t have to try to ban foods from my life. If I can eat them mindfully, I enjoy them incredibly more! The tastes, flavors, and pleasure from food can be satisfying in a way that eating for health alone never could be.
So, those are my best rules and what has kept me on track for the greatest weight loss of my life! If you want to read more about my journey, the foods I ate, and the affirmations I used, check out my ebook about mindful eating with EVERYTHING you need to implement this in your life!
And a fun graphic that I can totally get behind when someone is asking for a quick run-down of what mindful eating is!