As a society, we are more distracted than ever. Whether it's shopping online, watching the latest episode of Stranger Things, or scrolling through our social media accounts, our attention is directed elsewhere. Many of us have been challenged to be “present,” which for some may entail refraining from using tech devices for an extended period of time. But more often than not, we are using those tech devices while eating, which distracts us from truly being aware of the food in front of us. This is known as mindless eating which can lead to poor eating behaviors overall. Here are three easy strategies to practice mindful eating, starting today:
Grab a Smaller Plate
Utilizing a nine-inch plate to eat your main meals is a great first step in practicing mindful eating. According to the National Institute of Health, on average, people end up serving about 22 percent more pasta on a twelve-inch plate then they do on a ten-inch plate—compelling right? This is a quick tactic you can use to easily decrease the amount of food you are eating without much work.
No Phones at the Dinner Table
Eliminating distractions from the dinner table allows you to truly focus on the food you’re consuming. When you practice mindful eating, you’ll be more in tune with your hunger cues than ever before. More importantly, you will have more power to stop eating when you are full. When we eat with the TV on, we’re more likely to overeat because your focus is not on your food. Make this quick switch and easily see the difference in your overall consumption.
Rank Your Hunger
At times, much of us eat out of boredom because it is something to do. Before you eat, rank your hunger on a scale of 1-10. Then, consider what a 1 feels like in terms of hunger compared to 10. Ask yourself, “What would I rank my hunger at right now?” Then, evaluate how you feel 30 minutes to an hour after you eat. This exercise allows you to properly identify your hunger cues and eat appropriately and mindfully. Using a journal for this exercise can help you to reflect and further evaluate your hunger.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health. (2019).
Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.