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In Part 1 of this two-part series, you learned how being distracted when you eat can lead to overeating and unhealthy habits, which may make losing weight particularly difficult. Here in Part 2, you’ll learn about a simple mindful eating exercise to bring your focus and awareness back to your food.
Weight loss doesn’t have to be nearly as difficult or complicated at it seems. Whether you need to lose weight to improve your health or just want to look better by summer, follow these five simple steps to get healthy without feeling frustrated or deprived. The process may sound painstaking, but try it out.
Try This Mindful Eating Exercise
- Find a time that you’re hungry and choose a small snack—a handful of nuts, some fruit, or something else healthy. Sit down at a table, void of distracting stimuli, and enjoy. And do it alone in a calm environment, with your cell phone, computer, and TV turned off.
- Next, observe your snack closely. Look at the shape, color, and texture. Put it under your nose and take a deep breath to explore its smell.
- Take a very small bite. Hold the food in your mouth, taking in all the flavors and textures. Slowly bite into it and begin to chew, noticing how it tastes and feels between your teeth and on your tongue.
- Continue in this way, eating very slowly and taking note of all the thoughts, feelings, and sensations that you experience as you eat your snack.
- After you’re done, be aware of how your body feels after eating. Are you full? Did you find pleasure in the snack?
This mindful eating exercise can help to bring your awareness back to what you put in your mouth. It may serve as a wake-up call, reminding you that food is more than just something you scarf down every few hours to stay full. Bringing your attention back to food and the process of eating can help you to develop more healthy eating habits.
Practice Mindful Eating Every Day
Try taking the same principles used in the mindful eating exercise above and apply them to your daily eating habits.
- Sit down to a meal as often as possible.
- Avoid distracting stimuli.
- Don’t multitask.
- Chew each bite, and really taste your food.
- Notice the flavors, smells, and textures.
- Appreciate how the food makes your body feel.
- And finally, be aware of how much food, and what kind, makes you feel your best.
Before each meal, ask yourself these questions:
- What thoughts and feelings do I have about my upcoming meal?
- Do I feel excited? Guilty?
- What does my body feel like before eating?
- How hungry am I?
- Do I have any specific cravings?
And after each meal, these are good questions to ask yourself:
- Do I remember what I just ate?
- What did it taste like?
- What does my body feel like after my meal?
- Am I satisfied, still hungry, or feeling too full?
- Did my body react negatively to any of the foods I ate?
- Did I attach any guilt to my meal, or did I find pleasure in my food?
Your goal is to become more aware of what you eat, and to become more attentive to your eating process and how your body reacts. You should consciously taste every meal and be fully aware of what and how much you are eating. Noticing how you feel before, during, and after eating will help you gauge when you are full to avoid eating too much.
Hopefully, mindful eating will help you to develop a more positive, healthier relationship with food. These strategies will likely make eating smaller portions a more natural habit, helping you to stay healthy, shed some pounds, and more fully enjoy your meals in the process.
For more healthy tips, read:
- “How to Lose Weight Naturally“
- “How to Start Eating Healthy: The Benefits of Cooking at Home“
- “Need a Natural Appetite Suppressant? This One Will Keep You Feeling Full for Hours“
Share Your Experience
Have you tried any mindful eating exercises? What did you learn from the process? How do you incorporate mindful eating into your daily life? Share your experience in the comments section below.
Originally published in 2015 and updated regularly.