Take time to eat and digest your food
Digestion begins in the mouth, and actually we prepare for digestion when the cue of food is sensed e.g. the smell of food, the sight of it being prepared, even talking about it can make your mouth ‘water’ which is the first step in digestion. Taking some time to prepare for digestion and focusing on eating allows the body to divert energy to this task, reducing digestive complaints and increasing absorption of nutrients from our food.
Mindful eating helps to prevent overeating
Mindful eating also helps prevent over eating, reduces stress and allows us to enjoy our food more. For example, studies show that eating in front of the TV can result in consuming 70% more. When lunch is eaten in front of the computer or at the work desk, it is more difficult to recall what has been eaten, and it is more likely to increase hunger later. It also takes 20 minutes for our brain to sense that we are full. When we eat very rapidly, we are more likely to over eat.
Do you ever…
– Finish a chocolate bar and immediately want another one?
– Eat until you feel completely stuffed?
– Eat something you know you shouldn’t when you know you aren’t hungry?
True Hunger vs Emotional Eating
Recognising when we are truly hungry and need ‘fuel’ for our body is the proper cue for us to look for food. When we eat for emotional reasons, we often over eat and find it difficult to make healthful decisions.
|Physical hunger||Emotional hunger|
|Builds gradually||Develops suddenly|
|Occurs below the neck e.g. rumbling tummy||Develops suddenly|
|Occurs some time after a meal||Unrelated to time|
|Goes away after eating||Persists even when full|
|Eating leads to feelings of satisfaction||Eating leads to feeling of guilt or shame|
Credit: Mindless Eating, Brian Wansink
Simple steps for mindful eating
- Start by recognising when you are hungry before you start eating
- Don’t wait until you are starving
- Decide how full you want to be when you’ve finished eating, rather than eating until all the food is gone
- Choose food that is right for body and mind
- Eat without distraction
- Only eat sitting down at a table
- Take a few breaths before eating and look at your food
- Start with the food that looks the best
- Put your fork down between each mouthful and enjoy what you are eating
- Chew well and take your time
- Pause halfway through and consider how hungry you still are – remember it takes your brain 20 minutes to register that you are fulla
- Stop eating as soon as you feel satisfied and push your plate away
For more support on eating behaviours and habits, why not check out our 12 week healthy eating course Slimplicity commencing in Dublin, Cork and Kilkenny at the end of January! Call us on 01-4020777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on this or book a 1-2-1 consultation for more personalised support