Mindful eating is a crucial step on your path to becoming an intuitive eater. Mindful eating involves developing a special kind of awareness that you bring to the table when you eat. Mindful eating is less about what you eat and more about the way you eat.
When you eat mindfully, you become aware of your eating habits, especially the ones that sabotage eating well. You ask yourself “Do I really want a snack?” “Am I just reacting to food with automatic habits?” “Am I mindlessly wandering to the kitchen cabinets and getting my favorite treat without a second thought?”
When you eat mindfully, you are aware of the sensations you experience when you eat…the taste, texture, aroma of the food, and the thoughts that you have about the food.
Easier said than done?
Maybe so. Especially in this society when you are constantly on the run, putting out fires at work and home and probably grabbing food when you can. There just never seems to be enough time in the day. This leads to mindless eating, not mindful eating.
You have the best of intentions to listen to your internal cues of hunger and satiety and to stay fully present at each meal. But it doesn’t always work out that way. So, what are you to do?
It’s important to set up your environment for success. Meaning, take the cookie jar off the kitchen counter, the bowl of nuts off the living room cocktail table, and keep food in the kitchen, and only in the kitchen. You will be less apt to grab a “couple” or a “few” on your way through the kitchen to the den.
But it doesn’t just stop there. One of my favorite recommendations to setting up your environment for success has to do with your dinner leftovers (or any meal for that matter). Consider the following scenario:
You cooked a delicious dinner of lasagna and enjoyed it with your family. There is leftover, so you put it in a container and placed it in the refrigerator. Later that evening, you feel some hunger and decide to have an apple. You open the fridge and see your dinner leftovers. “Yum, that was delicious tonight. Let me take one forkful”. You stand at the fridge and dig the fork in, only problem is before you know it, the leftovers are gone and in your belly.
Has this ever happened to you? Oh, come on, be real, it probably has.
To set your environment up for success and prevent this mindless eating, store those leftovers in opaque containers (you know, the ones you can’t see through), and put it towards the back of the refrigerator. Out of sight, out of mind. And easy enough to do!
Your turn to take action: How do you store your leftovers? What changes will you make in your environment to decrease mindless eating?