Key Mindful Eating Tips To Help Prevent Weight Gain
In a nutshell, mindful eating is maintaining an awareness of what and how much we eat, and taking the time to savor it relatively free of distractions. Rooted in Buddhist teaching, it’s eating based on a physical sign, such as feeling hungry, and not eating based on emotions. Mindless and emotional eating lead to weight gain and obesity, which can then cause a host of medical issues – some of which can be life-threatening, such as heart disease, heart attack or stroke.
In a study of 1,400 mindful eaters, researchers found them to weigh less, have a greater sense of well-being and have fewer eating disorders. It seems to work for these people, but will it work for you? It can if you can incorporate it into your lifestyle.
Mindful eating is based on two premises: eat slower and in silence.
Taking time to chew food well is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. By savoring each bite, not only will it help with digestion, but in the end you’ll end up eating less and feeling better than you would if you wolfed down your food and suffered later because of it.
If you are introducing mindful eating to your family, you might have to forego the silence part – at least in the beginning. Instead, as a family discuss the texture and taste of a food, such as an avocado. It can also be a great time to talk about how the type of food and quantity affects weight and about the benefits of eating healthy. What you teach them now will pay dividends for them forever.
Find a deeper appreciation of your food. When eating a piece of whole wheat bread for example, think about the farmer that planted and harvested the wheat that went into the bread. How the grain was milled into flour and baked into bread; the trip the wheat made from the field to your table. Pondering these things gives you a deeper appreciation of the food you are eating.
While this is a big part of mindful eating, it won’t work in its entirety for all families. However, you can implement part of it by making the dining room or kitchen table an electronics-free zone – no smartphones, no TV; just quality family time centered around a meal. For many families, it is the only time in a day where everyone can get together. If that impossible with your family, then take time out of your day to sit down by yourself and mindfully drink a cup of tea in silence.
Mindful eating is a part of a healthy lifestyle and because it is based on awareness, it makes a great weight management tool. Try it – you most likely won‘t go back to the grab-and-go lifestyle.
4 Ways to Resist Junk Food
Are you a junk-food junkie? It is hard not to be one with a fast-food joint on every corner and TV advertisements for a super-size this or that every 15 minutes. But here are some ways you can use to kick your addiction to unhealthy (and expensive) fast food.
Avoid mindless eating
Do you realize how many calories you are ingesting when eating that bag of potato chips or bag of chocolates in front of the TV or at your desk at work? Most likely not. When eating, but focused on something else, it is easy to stuff yourself with junk food calories.
One way to avoid mindless eating is to not have junk food available in the first place. Instead have healthy snack bars, a small bag of nuts or some peanut butter and crackers to snack on. By planning ahead and having a healthy snack with you, you can avoid eating hundreds of calories in a day that you don’t need.
The second way is to focus on eating. In other words don’t be doing something else, to the point you don’t realize what you are eating. When eating becomes secondary to what you are doing, it is easy to lose track of what you are eating.
Fill up on fiber
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is a good way to fill up instead of eating junk food. Because they contain a lot of fiber, they keep you full longer, but without adding tons of calories and unhealthy saturated fat.
Plan ahead of time when eating out
If you plan on eating out, plan what you are going to have before getting there. That way you won’t be tempted to just go with some unhealthy option loaded with extra calories and fat that you don’t need. Almost all of the fast food chains have their nutritional information posted on their website, making it easy to research options.
Avoid the temptation
One sure way to avoid eating junk food is to not have it around. Avoid buying candy, chips, cookies and other processed foods that may tempt you. Instead load up on fresh fruits and vegetables that are low in calories and fat, but high on satisfying fullness due to the fiber they contain.
Addiction to junk food is as powerful as any other type of addiction, but you can “kick the habit” with these tips. Don’t be a slave to food; instead make it work for you and help attain your healthy lifestyle goals.