You are unique and so is your body! Before starting any new health routine, always be sure to talk with your doctor to make sure it is right for your needs.
Mindless eating can derail the hardest working athlete, so if you are focused on any kind of health and fitness goal, ensuring you are making intentional food choices (including the less nutritious, special treats) is key to enjoying eating while also making progress. Here are nine easily applied ways to make mindful eating part of your wellness regimen.
Use smaller plates
According to a study by the International Journal of Obesity, people tend to eat over 90% of the food they put on their plates. If you are using a large plate, that could end up being more food than you are actually hungry for. By switching to a smaller plate, you give yourself a natural stopping point to your eating where you can pause and assess your hunger cues. Are you getting full? Are you still hungry? How hungry are you?
Sitting down to a meal with friends or family can not only be a great way to decompress and make the meal more meaningful, but it could also help you avoid overeating. The study mentioned above uncovered another surprising finding: people tended to eat more (97% of their plate) when they were alone and not distracted compared with when they were eating with other people (89% of their plate).
Go for the bigger water glass
Another tip is to grab a larger glass at meal time and fill it with water. Drinking more water throughout your meal will give you a feeling of fullness faster, potentially saving you from eating more than you actually need.
Go for the smaller wine glass
Another way to ensure you aren’t taking in more than you need is to opt for a smaller glass when you have a drink. Whether it’s alcohol, soda, or any other calorie-loaded beverage, a smaller glass will help you enjoy whatever you’re having without going overboard.
Try drinking a glass of water before snacking
Did you know that sometimes what feels like hunger pangs can actually be caused by dehydration? When you don’t take in enough water, your body receives mixed messages about hunger. Dehydration causes you to think you need to eat when you actually need to take in liquids. So next time you think you’re hungry but you aren’t sure, try drinking a glass of water and see if that curbs your appetite.
Give healthy foods the spotlight
Appetite and hunger cues can start in the brain, so keeping some of your favorite snack foods out of sight is a simple but effective way to curb mindless eating. Instead, consider keeping healthier options (like fruits and vegetables) front and center in the fridge. Move the tasty treats to the back of the pantry or even the freezer, and load up a beautiful, colorful fruit bowl out on the counter.
Make it hard to access unhealthy foods
Science has proven that one way to get rid of bad habits is to make the habit difficult to do. You can apply this principle to food to help curb the unhealthy snacking and trim your waistline! Put candy or chips in the back of a cupboard that’s up high. Make a rule that you don’t eat out of containers or bags at the counter, but that you instead always put your food on a plate and sit at the table. This extra step can stop you from reaching for something less nutritious.
Eat more slowly
As hard as this tip can be to execute on, there are some fun ways to work on this. If you’re someone who has a hard time slowing down, try eating with your non-dominant hand only. You’ll improve your dexterity while giving your stomach more time to catch up with the fullness cues your brain is sending! Or instead of eating with a fork or spoon, try eating with chopsticks. You’ll have lots of laughs while you improve your coordination. Aid your digestion and slow down by trying to chew your food a specific number of times before swallowing.
Don’t stockpile unhealthy snack foods
Having your favorite treat from time to time is wonderful. But if you are looking to eat more mindfully, consider stocking your favorite treats in smaller quantities. This will naturally help ensure you don’t overdo it with higher-calorie, less nutritious foods.
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