I get asked for tips on healthy eating all the time, so I thought I would start writing some posts with top tips. First up, here are some really easy ways to help you to eat more mindfully and stop over eating as a result.
1.) Eat only when you’re hungry
DON’T EAT STARVING. This is so important! If you wait too long in between eating, you could find all your willpower to make healthful choices completely disappears in a puff of smokey bacon crisps. Regular eating keeps blood sugar and energy stable, which prevents you from feeling an extreme need for fuel. The same rule applies to food shopping. Ever ever enter a super market when you’re hungry, unless you plan on eating chocolate, ice cream and marshmallows for the next week.
This hunger scale is really helpful. There are different levels of hunger and you should challenge yourself to stay within the middle of the scale to stop yourself from over eating.
2.) Try eating without distractions
A really easy tip for not over eating is to be present when you’re eating. This means switching off the television, leaving your phone in another room and really setting aside time to eat and enjoy your meal. If you’re at work, try really hard not to resort to a desk lunch and instead try to take a lunch break, even if it’s just in another room and for just 10 minutes. I know you are all really busy but you’re worth taking the time for. Focusing on eating, without distractions means you will learn to appreciate your food more and will help you to begin to tune in to when you are feeling full and satisfied.
It’s so important to chew. Now I know that’s stating the obvious. But it can also really help you to not overeat. Quite often we get a little excited and start gobbling as though we are taking part in the Olympics. But slow down. Take the time to chew. Try to chew each mouthful at least 10 times. This will help with digestion because digestion begins in the mouth, so the more you chew, the more grateful your tummy will be later. But that’s not all. Chewing could also help you to eat fewer calories. Yay. It takes time for our stomachs to communicate how full it is with our brain so people who eat slowly tend to consume fewer calories than speedy eaters. Remember people, the story of the tortoise and the hare. Channel your inner tortoise.
4.) Take a breather
Make sure that you take your time. Try putting your knife and fork down occasionally as you eat and take a breath. I’m from a really big family, so growing up if you didn’t eat fast, you didn’t eat. It’s hard to break the habit of a life time, but just try and relax. The food isn’t going anywhere. Remember that it takes around 20 minutes to feel full after we’ve eaten something, so allow your body the time to process what you’ve eaten. Slowing down the speed at which you eat is not only better for your body but also could mean you end up eating less as your body clocks onto the fact that it’s actually full.
5.) Keep hydrated
Keep drinking water throughout the day as quite often dehydration can be mistaken for hunger. So when you think you’re hungry it’s quite a good idea to have a glass of water, wait 10 minutes and see whether you are still hungry or whether the water has actually done the job. When we are really thirsty, our bodies don’t care where they get the water from. Obviously they’d love a large glass of water, but if the only water it can get is from a cheap burger, it will make you eat the burger. Needs must. So drink up!
6.) Finish last
Thought finishing last is for losers? Think again. If you’re eating with a group of friends, it’s really easy to get caught up in the excitement, conversations and chat. This can mean that you over-eat or eat too fast. A simple trick to combat this is to try and be the last person at the table to pick up your fork and the last person to finish your meal. Don’t tell anyone at the meal that’s what you’re doing, or you will all find you are sitting there for days!!
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(photos courtesy of Pinterest)