If you eat your meals regularly in front of the television or while scrolling through your phone, you could be at risk for weight gain. That’s because distracted eaters take in more calories. According to a recent study, participants who ate meals while using media, such as watching television, or playing video games consumed nearly 150 more calories than those who ate without using media. That may not sound like many calories, but consuming just an additional 100 calories a day above what is needed to maintain your regular weight can lead to a 10 pound weight gain in one year!
If you are watching your weight, it is best to avoid media distractions and focus on eating mindfully. “Mindful eating”, sometimes referred to as “Intuitive Eating” is not a diet. It is a way of being fully present and eating with full attention to your meal, with no distractions. Mindful eating can help you eat less, reduce cravings and improve gut health.
Here are a five tips to get started on mindful eating:
- Before eating ask yourself if you are really hungry? If the answer is yes, rate your hunger on a scale of 1 to 10 with one being starving and ten being stuffed.
- If you are not hungry ask yourself, “What am I feeling” and then ask, “What is it that I need?” You may find that you’re feeling something other than hunger, i.e. anger, sadness or boredom. These are feelings that food cannot satisfy. Look for another outlet like going for a walk, listening to music, call a friend or read a book.
- If you are hungry, decide what you want to eat. Choose food that you really want and that you’ll enjoy. Don’t deprive yourself because you’ll only end up eating the food you really wanted after you’ve finished eating the food you thought you should eat.
- Sit down at a table. Don’t eat standing up, over the sink or in front of the open refrigerator door. Only eat off your feet!
- Slow down, take your time eating. One way to do this is to hold the utensil with your opposite hand. Be aware of the food; the color, notice the flavor, the taste, temperature and the texture. Put your fork down in between bites. Chew slowly.
The Registered Dietitians at Waverley Oaks can help you perfect the practice of mindful eating and help you develop a healthy relationship with food by helping you recognize the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. There is a root cause, a reason why we overeat. Let us help you discover your real hungers and craft realistic solutions to feed it. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org