Secret #3: Knowing Your Eating Behaviors
Recognizing the emotional triggers that can affect your eating habits is important, but emotional eating isn’t the only behavior that influences our food choices. Have you ever eaten an entire bag of chips without even being hungry? Are you surprised when your hand hits the bottom of the popcorn bucket at the movies? Do you go five hours or more without eating then find yourself overeating whatever is available? By practicing mindful eating we can recognize our patterns around food and make the changes needed to eat more healthily and create lifestyle changes.
Are you a Mindful Eater?
When at parties or events, can you usually eat without overeating?
Do you leave space between every few bites to take a breath?
Do you know when you are physically hungry, slightly hungry or full?
Do you usually stop eating when you are full or satisfied?
Are you aware of any feelings or emotions before, during and after eating?
Do you enjoy subtle food flavors and textures, and pace yourself to savor each bite?
Do you chew your food slowly to aid digestion and savor your food?
Are you physically active and not sitting most of the time?
Are you mindful of how your food choices affect the environment?
If the answer to any of the questions above is “No”, than you are not eating mindfully.
Some common mindless food behaviors that can result in weight-gain include:
- Skipping meals
- Eating while distracted
- Overeating food because it is available
- Eating in response to food pushers
Becoming a Mindful Eating
You can begin to recognize your patterns by tracking your food behavior for two weeks. Be sure to include the name of the food, the time it was consumed, where you ate it, and what was going on around you at the time.
You can also begin to address these mindless behaviors by mindfully eating as many meals as possible. Mindfully eating means paying full attention to the entire experience of consumption. A mindful eater pays attention before, during and after the meal to their surroundings, the food and themselves.
Some questions to ask yourself to aid mindful eating:
- Am I hungry?
- What colors, textures and shapes are the food items on my plate?
- What was the source of these food items?
- What ingredients are in this meal?
- What are the smells, flavors, textures and temperatures?
- Do I enjoy this food?
- What does half full feel like? Three quarters full?
Practicing eating mindfully allows you to recognize unhealthy food patterns. Moreover, when you eat mindfully, you will enjoy your food more and feel more physically satisfied, too!
Rediscover Pleasure in Eating Healthy Foods
One of the most basic pleasures in life is eating. Rather than trying to eradicate all pleasure from this activity, we should reset our intuitive pleasure responses to healthy food. Take the time to enjoy the deliciousness of natural foods without the mask of refined sugars, sauces, excess salt, additives, and preservatives. Be patient with the experience in its entirety – the texture of whole grain bread, the brightness and pleasing sweetness of ripe fruits and the crunch of raw vegetables. You will discover that your body is hard wired to respond to what nature offers and your intuitive response to these foods will be pleasantly altered.
More Secrets for Successful Weight Loss
Secret #1: Knowing your food (Carbohydrates, proteins and fats)
Secret #2: Understanding the emotional triggers that lead us to eat the way we do
Secret #3: Recognizing your eating behaviors and habits
Secret #4: The impact of sleep and weight loss
Secret #5: The effect of energy levels and stress on weight loss
Secret #6: Appreciating how digestion impacts weight loss
Secret #7: Making healthy portion size decisions
Secret #8: How to eat out and still lose weight
Secret #9: Learn how to work out anytime and anywhere