LIVE YOUR HEALTH
In 2010, after completing a rigorous application and site review process by Meals On Wheels America, we were awarded “Exemplary Status” Magnet Accreditation for our outstanding senior nutrition program.
LIVE YOUR HEALTH
Picnics, graduation parties, vacations, ice cream trucks and summer celebrations can be as much of a diet disaster as the November and December holiday season is. However, summer vacation is a great time to practice mindfulness for eating.
The practice of mindfulness isn’t just for yoga, and mindful eating might just make summer less of a diet pitfall.
What is a mindful eater? According to Psychology Today, a mindful eater practices several important traits. A mindful eater takes the time to really taste the food and only eats foods he or she truly likes. A mindful eater stops eating when satisfied, which is different than stopping when feeling full. By the time we are full, we may be over-satiated, but if we eat until we are satisfied, our portions may be more in check.
A mindful eater also eats more slowly, which also allows the person to pay attention to taste, hunger, satiety and satisfaction. A mindful eater is present, asking before the first bite if he or she is eating out of hunger, stress or boredom, and doesn’t get too upset if he or she overeats on occasion, but rather just adjusts the next meal accordingly. Lastly, mindful eaters are aware of how their bad habits used to impact their eating. Habits such as multitasking, emotional eating and snacking while watching TV are ones that mindful eaters have learned to kick.
Now that you know what a mindful eater is, it’s important to know why you should consider practicing mindfulness while eating. In the March 2018 journal Current Obesity Reports, authors performed a review of research papers on mindful eating and weight loss. They found that mindful eating reduces food cravings, helps control portion sizes and is effective for weight control.
We have covered the what and the why of mindful eating, but how can you practice it? When you are “off schedule” (on summer vacation, for example), don’t eat by the clock. Instead, eat when you are hungry. If you are trying a new entrée at a restaurant or eating your freshly picked garden produce, try to eat slowly and savor every bite. Put your fork down after every bite and enjoy a conversation with your dining partner or some music with your meal. Ask yourself a few times during your meal if you feel satisfied and pay attention to your body cues that may tell you that you are satisfied.
Before you reach into the cookie jar, ask yourself if you are bored, stressed or anxious and are eating a result of this. Try setting a timer for 5 minutes before you have that snack and do something else (e.g., go for a brisk walk, do some housework, read a book). Revisit that need for a snack after 5 minutes of distraction. Lastly, do not eat while watching TV, working/playing on an electronic device or multitasking. It is difficult to be a mindful eater when you are doing other things.
We wish you a safe and healthy summer, and perhaps one with a little more mindfulness!
Hayley Daubert is a registered and licensed dietitian and nutritionist who consults with Meals On Wheels of Northampton County and other organizations. For more information, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.