If you are like many people in modern society, it is likely that you often consume meals and snacks with little regard for your actions. Most people are also engrossed in television, computers or mobile devices instead of being tuned in to the world directly in front of them. This can lead to multiple problems, including poor eating habits.
However, you can break this pattern, and learn to eat mindfully. When you become conscious of your food choices, and pay attention while you are eating, you will experience food in an entirely new way. You will raise your awareness of flavors and textures while likely reducing the amount of calories you consume each day.
Some mistakenly believe that overweight people pay too much attention to their food. Obsession, binging and related behaviors are not the same as mindfulness. With these actions, the person does not truly appreciate and enjoy each bite of food. Often, the meal is over with the person having only minimal awareness of the dining experience.
If this sounds familiar to you, and you are ready to make a change, consider these suggestions for becoming a conscious eater:
Turn Off Technology
Whether it is your television or smart phone, technological devices distract you from paying attention to the world around you, including when you are eating. It is virtually impossible to remain focused and mindful of your eating when you are watching cute kitty videos, seeing what your friends are up to on social media, or any of the other tasks that drive the Internet. During your meals, turn them off, or at the very least, put your phone on vibrate and only answer if absolutely necessary.
Eat One Bite at a Time
Rather than attempting to get your plate cleared quickly so that you can move on, slow down. Put a single bite of food on your fork and then in your mouth. Chew it carefully before swallowing and taking the next bite.
Savor the Flavors and Textures
Related to the previous tip, this entails actually tasting each bite of food. Notice the texture and subtle flavors of each bite. Do you detect a hint of a particular spice or vegetable? Do you like the way it crunches or slides?
Know Your Meal
Do you often grab meals on the go, and eat them with little regard? Turn this around by making conscious food choices. Although you may not have an interest today in switching to some extreme diet plan, you can ask and learn about your foods. This will provide a greater connection to eating.
For instance, is the produce locally grown? Was this type of plant originally imported from another country? Did the chef once work for a competing restaurant or do they use a particular rub to get the meat flavored just right? These bits of information and insight into where your food came from can help you to appreciate and savor each bite.
Use Smaller Plates and Bowls
You will serve yourself less food at home, and have to make a conscious choice for seconds.
Incorporate these tips to raise your awareness during mealtime.