14 May 2013 Minding Your Own Business of Eating

Mindless eating, distracted eating, mindful eating, call it what you like. It's the same concept. What's your eating style? We live in a society that prides itself in “gittin er done”. We eat while running out the door, driving in the car, working at our desks, standing in line at the bank. We even sample our way through Costco or Sam's Club and snack in the restaurant bar while waiting to be seated for dinner. The only “off limits” are in the dentist chair, when prepping for a medical procedure, or in church. Otherwise, it is open season for eating in America! This provides us with endless opportunities for mindless eating.

So, what is your eating style? A food log is an excellent tool for increasing eating awareness. For example, you can simply track calories, fats, carbs and/or fiber, or take it a step farther by reflecting on what you ate or drank, why, where you were, and with whom you ate. Additionally, does your work environment trigger overeating or cause you to make poor food choices? Does junk food or candy catch your eye? Or perhaps you find yourself partying all weekend, living it up at social events, with no regard for a meal structure. Mindful eating can help you identify reasons for eating other than being physically hungry and could increase awareness of eating when stressed, bored or eating simply as a form of entertainment. It could also enhance your awareness about certain individuals who encourage overeating or poor food choices. These include friends or co-workers who always want fast food or bring desserts in to work. Ask yourself, do these people influence your eating habits and what can you do it stay focused on healthy eating choices?

Here are some ways you can be in the present moment while eating:

BREATHE: Take deep breaths between bites. Create a relaxing atmosphere. Play soft music, light candles, remove yourself from distractions like the computer, TV or your desk.

CHEW SLOWLY: Digestion starts in the mouth with chewing. Savor food by moving it around your mouth. And remember, it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain it is full.

TAKE SMALL BITES: Enjoy the flavors. Is it sweet, spicy or tart? Is it chewy, crunchy or creamy? Try to fully experience each bite before swallowing.

APPRECIATE IT: Think about all the work it took to get food to the table. Be grateful that we are blessed with the most abundant food supply in the world.

Tuning in to the flavor and enjoyment of food can be the answer to consuming healthy amounts of food and drink. Try for just one day to focus solely on the food you are eating. Yes, that means no reading, watching TV, Facebook, Twitter, driving, walking, etc. Be present with the food you are eating, chewing it well and savoring its taste. When you slow down and enjoy your food, your brain actually registers that you have eaten. If someone asks what you are doing, tell them you are minding your own business of eating.

Brenda Braslow, MS, RD, CDE

Brenda is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator in Denver,

Colorado who specializes in diabetes prevention and health enhancement.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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Weight Loss/Emotional & Mindful Eating

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