Experts are increasingly finding that turning attention away from calories and onto the experience of your food is a more effective, sustainable way to lose weight. “Where you place your attention impacts activity within the brain and, as a result, your emotions, ability to enjoy your food, and even your body’s ability to register food intake,” says Maven Nutritionist Lauren Olofsson, RD.
So what exactly is mindful eating?
It’s about paying attention to your hunger and satiety levels (aka how full you feel), as well as the experience of eating the food in front of you. “The goal is to bring awareness to your eating habits,” Olofsson explains. For example, before you eat, you ask yourself, “Am I actually hungry?” If you are, by all means, eat—and pay attention to the experience. If, however, you just feel like eating without being hungry, think about what feeling is prompting you to eat.
3 simple ways to practice mindful eating
When getting started with mindful eating, it’s important to remember that it’s a skill you develop over time and with practice. “You’re not going to do this perfectly, and that’s okay,” Olofsson says. Here are three ways to explore mindful eating:
Tip #1 - Ditch distractions
It’s hard to mindfully eat when your mind is on other things like your phone, computer, or to-do list. If you’re too busy to sit down and focus on your food, rest assured that you don’t have to devote a ton of time to your meals to benefit from mindfulness. Give yourself at least five minutes to put a pause on your day and notice what you’re eating.
Tip #2 - Use your senses
Pay attention to how you’re exploring your meal through your five senses. It doesn’t have to take long--even 30 seconds will make a positive impact.
Tip #3 - Take a pause during meals
“Most of us know when we’re starving and when we’re stuffed, but we need practice feeling that middle ground,” Olofsson says. She recommends taking a pause during your meals to tune into your body and its hunger and satiety cues. When you’re about halfway through the food in front of you, ask yourself, “am I still hungry or am I satisfied?”
How Maven can help you with wellness
Maven is here for you through every step—and bite—of your nutrition journey. With Maven, you can:
- Book virtual appointments anytime with a Nutrition Coach to talk about healthy eating
- Message providers like Wellness Coaches 24/7 to ask questions on nutrition
- Create a personalized Care Plan with your dedicated Care Advocate
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