Chances are you’ve heard of mindfulness. Mindfulness is being fully engaged in the present. Whether exercising, meditating or creating staying focused can produce incredible outcomes. Dr. Christine Ren-Fielding suggests mindful eating to lose or maintain your weight.
What is Mindful Eating?
Practitioners of mindfulness tout its benefits. By engaging in an activity they are efficient and dedicated. Rather than eating as something done while other things go on, mindful eating puts the focus only on food.
Why practice eating in a mindful way?
Have you ever gotten in the car to go to the grocery store and realized you were driving to your office instead? Or forgotten your keys while walking out the door because you were talking on the phone? Multi-tasking, though revered in our busy-loving society, is the opposite of mindfulness. When we divide our thinking across tasks we divide our abilities, too. If you are driving, talking, and eating you are not doing any of them to the best of your ability.
By doing one thing at a time, like eating, you can devote all your attention to it. Dr. Christine Ren-Fielding believes this is the best way to eat.
Dr. Christine Ren-Fielding’s Tips
- Schedule meals and snacks. We love our calendars so take time to schedule when you will eat. While you’re doing that, consider also scheduling what you will eat. Making eating into a priority focuses your mind on it and allows you to eat mindfully.
- Take your time. Many cultures recommend taking as long to eat a meal as prepare and cook it. Dr. Fielding suggests that you follow this rule of thumb. A snack of fresh vegetables that takes ten minutes to take out, clean, peel and cut should take ten minutes to eat.
- Unplug. Meal time is often split between mindlessly eating and scrolling through social media. Don’t use meals to check emails and catch up on texts. Instead, put your phone away and devote the time to eating.
- Think about your food. Food is a necessary part of the day. It fuels your body and gives you much needed nutrition. Think about what you’re eating, why you enjoy it, it’s textures and flavors. Being aware of your food helps you make good choices.
- Listen to your body. It takes about twenty minutes for the full signal to travel from your stomach to your brain. Dr. Christine Ren-Fielding suggests the following method to give your body time.
- First, pick up your fork or spoon.
- Second, take a bite.
- Third, put down your utensil.
- Fourth, chew your food completely.
- Fifth, swallow.
- Sixth, pick up your water.
- Seventh, take a sip.
- Eight, put down your water.
- Ninth, swallow.
Only after completing these steps should you start over. Thinking about doing all of these things sounds a little silly. But, compared to how we usually eat, you will give your brain time to register that you are full. Think about how many bites you usually take without a break. This process automatically reduces your caloric intake.
- Plan mindfully. Mindfulness starts well before the meal. At the grocery store opt for fresh produce over canned or frozen. Choose whole wheat breads over enriched white ones. Consider hummus as a sandwich spread instead of mayo.
Schedule a Consultation
If you struggle with obesity, talk to your doctor and schedule a consultation. Contact the weight management program at NYU Langone Medical Center.