Written by Pam Connolly, Fitness Instructor + Certified Nutrition Coach
"Focus on each bite of food and notice all the different tastes you sense." - Pam Connolly
I hope you read and enjoyed my first three Mindful Eating blog posts.
If you haven't had a chance to read them, I recommend that you go back and read those first because this blog builds on the previous three.
To recap, we tend to react without taking time to notice what we are eating—repeating past actions again and again— and feel powerless to change.
The best way for each person to become a mindful eater is to start with an analysis of their current eating habits and then make positive changes for the better.
Becoming a more mindful eater helps us to control our appetite and ultimately eat the correct quantity and quality that best serves us to meet our mental and physical goals.
In this blog, I will give you another strategy on how to become a more mindful eater as well as a new exercise after recapping the previous exercise.
Engaging your Senses
My top tip for this post is to focus on each bite of food and notice all the different tastes you sense.
Here are some things to think about as you practice:
Chew slowly and pay attention to the flavor(s) as you break down each bite of food.
Can you identify all the different tastes from different foods? Perhaps there is more than one kind of food on your utensil, like a variety of finely chopped vegetables in a salad, or the cheese, chips, and vegetables in a bite of nachos.
If you’re with at least one other person, take a moment to share all the different flavors you noticed. Have them do the same thing with you. It will make your meal last longer and force you to slow down the timing of each bite.
As the meal progresses, does the taste change? Does it stay the same or get more or less flavorful or intense? If the flavor gets less intense, this might be a good cue to indicate that you can be done with your meal as you’re not getting as much pleasure out of it anymore. If that’s the case, pack up the rest of the meal and have as leftovers tomorrow! (If you do this, make sure you are getting enough calories to meet your needs regardless of how the taste may change).
Once again, I encourage you to write down whatever thoughts you noticed when you get a chance.
Noticing Your Patterns
How did you do with analyzing and setting outcome goals with regarding your eating patterns? Here is that list again:
What types of food do you eat (macronutrients, whole, processed, etc)?
Do you eat more of your calories in the morning, midday, afternoon, or evening?
How many drinks, when, and what kind of alcohol did you drink, if any?
How many drinks, when, and what kind of non-water drinks did you drink, if any?
What is your energy like before and after you eat meals and snacks?
Do you eat when you’re hungry, because you think you should, because it’s when you have time, you’re stressed, or because certain triggers (smells, presence, desire) lead to eating?
How do you feel when you’re done eating (satisfied, guilty, full, etc.)
Is your eating similar each day or does it vary from day to day?
What are the contributing factors to why you eat similarly or different day to day?
Do you notice if you eat differently at different times of the year (some crave different types of food in the winter vs. the summer, or due to different circumstances that happen in one’s life)?
Any other observations?
With whichever one(s) you were successful with, now decide if you want to maintain your progress or focus on 2-3 other prompts.
If you were not successful with even one of the goals you set about one of the prompts, re-evaluate, re-strategize, or abandon that idea altogether and move on to the other prompts.
Journaling/writing/typing this information out will help increase the likelihood of success!
Continue to evaluate every 1-2 weeks. Adjust as necessary. Did you find an accountability buddy?
I always welcome comments, questions, and/or suggestions.
Until next time! Thanks for reading!
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