6 Tips to Control Calories with Mindful Eating
You’re on your way home from a long day at work, and you’re hungry. But you don’t have a plan for dinner.
So you hit the nearest drive-through for a burger, fries, and soda. You get home, pick up the house, and decide to unwind in front of the TV. And before you know it, you’ve munched your way through a bag of chips and a bucket of ice cream.
Been there, done that? When you don’t pay attention to what you’re eating, it’s all too easy to consume too many calories. That might not be a big deal every once in a while. But when it’s a regular thing, it’s a recipe for weight gain and other health problems.
What can you do to change? Practice mindful eating. Here are 8 tips to help you control calories, practice Portion Control, and protect your health:
1. Eat slowly, and avoid distractions.
Translation, avoid making a habit of eating while driving or watching TV.
2. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full.
Ever find yourself eating, even though you’re not hungry? That’s mindless eating. Try eating only at designated times during the day. For example three main meals, and two snacks.
3. Watch for food triggers.
If you’re hungry, have a healthy snack or meal. But if that’s not the reason you’re craving food, something else is likely triggering your urge to eat. What is it? Stress, anxiety, depression? Take a step back to find out, or get help from your doctor, nutritionist, or counselor.
4. Take time to enjoy your food.
Ever wolf down a snack in seconds, and look around wondering what just happened? That’s another hallmark of mindless eating. Do the opposite. Take time to enjoy your food. Chew slowly. Enjoy the smells, texture, and colors. Take time to really taste your food.
5. Learn to manage food guilt and anxiety.
If you haven’t had the best relationship with food, it’s easy to fall into the trap of eating more and more. But you can learn to change that. Your doctor, dietitian, or counselor can help you. Even something as simple as tracking everything you eat can help you be more mindful of your food choices and avoid the kind of binge eating that increases guilt and anxiety.
6. Eat to improve your health.
Take a look at what you’re about to eat. Is it healthy? If your answer is, “yes,” most of the time, you’re on the right track. If it’s not, set a goal to change. Most of your food should come from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, lean meats, fish, and legumes. And that’s what you’ll find on the Portion Control menu.
Wrap your mind around mindful eating. You’ll be healthier, feel better, and live longer!