Editor’s Note: This article was contributed by Nicole Newcomb, MHC-P, Explore What’s Next psychotherapist.
Did you give up your favorite food for the New Year?
Weight loss experts say, “Don’t throw out that chocolate!” Eat in slow motion instead!
Slowing down our pace of eating, increasing the number of chews and noticing everything we can about our food is called eating mindfully. Believe it or not, it can help you with weight loss.
Studies have shown that the slower you eat, the less you eat and the more mindfully you eat the more satisfied you are. So you don’t give up your favorite food totally! Eat it mindfully and satisfy your sweet tooth with just a few bites! Imagine this….
You open the candy so slowly and notice the blue, shiny wrapper and the ridges of each wrinkle between your fingers. You notice the crinkling sound it makes as you start to peel back the corners. The aroma of sweet chocolate begins to fill your nostrils and your mouth starts to water ever so slightly. You begin thinking that tomorrow you start your crazy New Years Resolution diet so you better make this count! Refocusing you thoughts to the chocolate, you notice each corner of the creamy, smooth chocolate in your hand as it starts to melt. You become excited! As you bring it to your mouth, the aroma grows stronger and you begin anticipating its sweet taste. You put the chocolate in your mouth and smile as you begin to chew ever so slowly, noticing how your teeth sink into the smooth chunks of chocolate. You never want this sensation to leave your mouth so you sit with it until every last morsel has vanished. The reward is phenomenal and you think to yourself “this is the best piece of chocolate I have ever had.” At this point you do not want another because you are more than satisfied. And it’s a good thing because it was the last one!
So the next time you sit down to eat anything, especially something you think is sinful, like the fine chocolate your well-meaning boyfriend gave you for Christmas, try out these tips below and notice the difference it makes in your appetite and satisfaction.The slower you make this process and the more detailed in your awareness, the better the exercise!
How to Eat Mindfully:
1) Do not touch whatever it is you are about to eat! Just notice what it looks like and what it smells like from a far.
2) Pick up the item without bringing it to your mouth. Notice what it feels like in your hands or looks like on your fork. Describe it to yourself in great detail. All the way down to the sponginess of the bread and the sesame seeds on top. Notice the different shades of red on the tomato.
3) Now bring the item closer to your mouth and notice the smells. It may have more than one aroma so find every smell!
4) Now take a bite and begin chewing as slowly as you can. Pretend it is a contest of who can chew the longest! Now taste each flavor from the acidity in the tomato to the grease in the burger.
5) In the same bite, (yes I am asking you to still be chewing the same bite!) notice how it feels against your tongue and teeth.
6) Ask yourself what do you hear? You may hear the crunching of the lettuce. Don’t let this bite go until you know everything about it!
7) Repeat with every bite and every sip of your drink until you notice your stomach is full.
It is not always easy to find the time to sit down and eat mindfully. I know I find it hard sometimes. But when I do take the time, it is always worth it!
Photo courtesy of cupprof