Lose Weight By Eating More Mindfully

How familiar does this sound: You grab a snack and sit down to watch your favorite television show, and before you know it, the entire bag of chips is empty. Or perhaps you’re ordering dinner out with a friend, and suddenly the server is taking away your empty plate, and you can’t quite remember the entire meal.

Most people eat unconsciously, meaning they’re eating without bringing the full force of their awareness, presence, and consciousness to the activity. And it can extend beyond the meal, too. Many people find themselves uncomfortably full during a meal, or ravenously hungry before a meal.

And this type of mindless approach to food could be one of the key reasons why most diets fail. If you’re eating mindlessly, it doesn’t matter what eating plan you follow: You’re still eating foods at the wrong times, perhaps for the wrong reasons. And perhaps the food themselves are wrong!

Researchers at Harvard University now report that mindful eating (being aware of your hunger signals and being mindful of the actual act of eating) could be one of the best ways to lose weight, choose healthier foods, and stick with your diet.

If you want to start eating mindfully, grab a snack and follow these tips.

1. Say a Prayer of Thanks

You don’t have to be a religious person to express and feel gratitude for your meal. “Before you start to eat, pause,” suggests Harvard’s mindful eating experts. “Take a moment to acknowledge the labor that went into providing your meal — be it thanks to the farmers, the factory workers, the animals, Mother Earth, the chefs, or even your companions at the table.”

2. Eat With Zero Distractions

Whenever you sit down to eat, focus on just eating.

Most people do the opposite. They multitask. Maybe they pay bills, or play a game, or watch football. But these distractions mean you might not be aware if the food is actually delicious and satisfying. You might not be conscious of when you’re reaching the point of uncomfortable over-fullness. You might not be enjoying the meal, which in turn slows down how quickly your hunger is satisfied.

Sit down to your meal, tune out distractions, and savor the moment. Literally.

3. Slow Your Roll

It can take as much as 20 minutes for your stomach to say, “Oh hey, I’m full!” and pass that message up the line of command to your brain. If you eat too quickly, you could easily eat past your stomach’s happy point, meaning you aren’t just going to feel overly stuffed, but you’ve also eaten more calories than you needed (sabotaging your weight loss and diet goals).

As you eat, slow down and find ways to pace yourself. Some people find success in taking a sip of water between each bite or putting down their fork between bites. These little steps break up the meal and naturally force you to pace yourself.

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