Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full. It sounds simple enough. But it’s not that easy.
To know when you’re hungry or full, you need to pay attention. You need to be mindful.
Unfortunately, the world is against mindfulness. But we have some great materials to help you teach it:
- Mindful Eating PowerPoint focuses on learning to eat with intention, awareness, care, and thought. The messages are positive and health-promoting. Your audience will learn to slow down and enjoy their food.
- Three Steps to Mindful Eating poster breaks things down into easy-to-remember actions:
- Before you decide to eat, ask yourself, “Why am I eating?”
- As you take each bit, savor the flavor of your food.
- Put your food on a plate and sit down to eat.
So much of mindless eating is due to habits. Recognizing these habits is the first step to becoming more mindful.
Whether you’re teaching a class or sharing on social media, add in some levity as you help people figure out what habits keep them from eating mindfully. Everyone is bound to see themselves in at least one of these mindless eating scenarios …
- Drink soda/diet soda like water: When you’re thirsty, you grab a soda. When you’re tired, you grab a soda. When you’re eating chips, you grab a soda. When it’s 3pm, you grab a soda. You get the idea.
- See-it-eat-it: You never pass by a candy jar or pan of brownies without taking “just one” or “just a sliver.” But these ones and slivers add up and you don’t realize it.
- The sign made me stop: You have no intention of stopping at Starbucks or McDonald’s, but you see a sign and end up turning into the parking lot.
- Clean plate club: Even if you’re full, you clean your plate and maybe even the plates of those around you.
- Eat by the clock: If it’s noon, it’s lunchtime. Even if you’re not hungry, you eat. Because it’s lunchtime.
- Hand in the bag: You eat out of the bag of candy or box of crackers. When you reach in and nothing’s left, you’re surprised. You don’t remember eating that much.
- Multi-tasking: You eat while you read, watch TV, or scroll. Before you know it, you’re at the bottom of the bowl and you don’t remember a bite.
- Eat while driving: You eat and drink while trying to drive, focusing more on not spilling than tasting the food.
- Speed eater: You always eat fast. You can’t tell when you’re full. You don’t enjoy the taste of the food. It’s all just a blur.
Be sure to share your own mindless eating habit(s) so people will know that even dietitians aren’t perfect :-).
Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD
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