How often do you actually think before you eat? I mean ask yourself, ‘how hungry am I’, ‘how will I feel after eating this food’, ‘why do I want this food so badly’…
If you answered, not very often to this question, you may want to work on this. This is the beginning of Mindless eating, and mindless eating prevents us from paying attention to our hunger and fullness, keeps us from changing, and yields greater chances of poor choices and being overweight.
Food is EVERYWHERE we turn today. It’s overwhelming and exciting all at once! We can pick and choose what we want, or we can eat as much as we want. Companies market and advertise the most appetizing foods, at great deals too, and you can be easily tempted to give into their ploys. But this is NOT in your best interest. Not if you want to take charge of your health and establish healthy habits that will help you stay lean and fit.
I’ve caught myself thinking and others telling me that they won’t turn down food for numerous reasons. From, ‘it tastes so good’ to ‘it’s free’ to ‘I cant let this go to waste’ and even ‘I don’t know when I’ll have this again because I’m on a diet (or will not be back here soon, or whatever reason)’. Think for a moment, are these statements completely rational?! Is this the LAST time you will eat? Is it the last time you will get to eat a delicious meal or have a favorite enjoyable food? NO!! It’s not!
In fact, I bet that if you say this to yourself often enough, and pair it with the deprivation and restriction of being on a ‘diet’ or ‘plan’ you are on, that you will end up having more of this food now, and more of it again sooner than if you just sat back, savored it, and was present with the food in the first place.
This is what I can call a Fear of Missing Out (FOMO, according to Jill Coleman). It’s your thoughts and beliefs that you’re scared your will miss out on something, so your actions end up sabotaging you. It’s a very real thing and it’s keeping many from successfully changing and seeing results. This is all about your perception, your mindset.
The reality is that food, experiences, restaurants, activities, events,.. you name it will always be around the corner. There is no need to go gung-ho and have everything all at once, mindlessly, or in large amounts because this is not balance, it’s the all-or-nothing mentality.
There are ways to move beyond this thought process though, and a more reasonable way to live, and I’m happy to share them with you!
First thing, you need to accept that food is not scarce. It will not suddenly disappear. In fact, if you get too much, it’s either going to go to your waste, in the waste, or go bad before you get to it. I don’t really think you want this to happen. I sure don’t!
Instead, start paying attention to your food more. The first 3 bites of food taste the best. After those first couple bites, the food begins to taste the same, bland, or boring. Savor the first bites.
Share with someone. Dining out is an experience, so is cooking at home. Spend some time with someone to create a memory.
Slow down! Look at your food! Smell it, taste it, touch it, before you even put it into your mouth. Chew one bite at a time before picking up another one.
Take the time to assess your hunger and fullness before, during, and towards the end of your meal. Don’t be afraid to leave some behind, saving it for later, giving to another diner you’re eating with, or throwing it out. It’s much better than eating it all and being too full, leaving a poor memory of feeling uncomfortable.
When you eat, only eat. Stop texting, looking at your phone or screens, thinking of your to do list, or the like.
Practice ‘Preemptive Eating’, where you strategically plan in enjoyable foods to satisfy and prevent feelings of deprivation into your lifestyle. Maybe daily, maybe every 3 days, or weekly. For example, I may have some fruit and dark chocolate daily or every other day, and on the weekend I allow myself a treat when dining out of my choice and commit to eating it mindfully and slowly, savoring every bite.
When you begin to accept that you get to eat again in a few hours, that it’s not your last time having some fabulous food, you can begin to eat in a more peaceful mindset and setting.