Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mindful Eating: Eating with a Purpose

It is thought that the average human makes 250 decisions per day related to eating and food. Surprise!, most aren’t related to hunger but to advertisements, smells, treats, or food-related activities such as Sunday Football or Holiday parties.  Research has shown that people don’t just eat because they’re hungry but because of MANY other factors. Family and friends, the sizes of food packages and labels, the sizes of serving spoons, plates, and cups, colors of foods, shapes of foods, and distractions while eating all play a part in how much food we consume.


Keeping the key reason for eating in the back of your mind, that is.. that it's for energy, is a strategy to keep decisions resulting in healthy choices (but not a very fun one!). Instead enjoy eating but try paying attention to your surroundings... picture yourself eating a meal, what setting are you in (is it noisy, busy, cluttered), who is with you? (friends, family, or are you alone), are you really paying attention to what your eating? (are you doing another activity, focusing on what the food will do for your body, how it tastes, where it came from), and how fast are you eating (are you thinking about the next bite before you’re done with the first)? A lot of thinking goes into a meal, though we don’t normally analyze it to this extent, nor do I ever want to every time- I need my energy for other things! So you may ask, what happened to just enjoying a meal, feeling satisfied, and moving on with the day? Realistically, we have distractions. Realistically, we are being served larger portions on larger plates and using larger utensils. Realistically, holidays come packed with traditional dishes and traditional desserts, cookies, etc. Realistically, we must learn to eat in the world we live and focus on our meals. So in the theme of being realistic- don’t over analyze your food, just enjoy it with a purpose and every so often, pay attention  to your surroundings. You may be surprised by what you find. 

Nutritious Me with Lacey D
Distractions may cause sour consequences.

Try to focus mealtime on meals, not TV.

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