Mindful Eating Can Be a Useful Tool in Weight Management

— Written By and last updated by Shelia Ange
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How many times have you driven through a fast food line and devoured a burger and fries within minutes of receiving your order? Perhaps you were grabbing a quick meal in the midst of a busy day. By the time you reach your destination, the chance that you can remember the taste and smell of food you just ate is slim.

Maybe you have been watching television or working at your computer with a full bag of chips and suddenly you notice the bag is empty. When we eat quickly without taking the time to enjoy our food, we are mindlessly eating.

In recent years, there has been increased interest in mindful eating. Mindfulness refers to the learned ability to be open, accepting, and present in the moment. Mindful eating is eating with an awareness of what food we choose; how the food tastes; how the food smells. Mindful eating cannot happen in front of a computer, television, or while driving.

Mindful eating allows you to increase the physical signs of hunger, satiety cues, pace of eating, the environment of the food, and the characteristics of the food. Mindful eating signals the body to pay attention, choose healthy options, and resist the urge to quickly consume high-calorie foods. There is strong support for the inclusion of mindful eating as a component of weight management. Mindful eating may be a substantial benefit to the treatment for weight management.

Food journaling is a good way to monitor how much and what types of food you eat throughout the day. Many apps are available to help you record what you consume, but the old-school method of keeping a notepad handy to jot down what you eat works just as well. When you take time to write down what you are eating, when you are eating, and how much you are eating, you will be able to see patterns in your eating habits and you can make adjustments in your eating plan.

Meal planning is good way to be conscious of what you are eating. Spending a little time over the weekend to plan meals, create a shopping list, and prepare some meals ahead of time will save both money and time in the coming week.

Here is a quick and healthier version of chicken pot pie that you can have in your freezer ready to heat whenever you need it. In a pie plate, mix 2/3 cup of thawed, frozen vegetables; 1 (10oz) can of low fat, condensed cream of chicken soup; and a cup of bite-size, cooked chicken. In a bowl, combine 1 cup of baking mix, ½ cup of low fat or skim milk, and one egg. Pour the dough mixture over the vegetables and chicken, and bake at 400°F for 30 minutes. 

For questions about information in this article or to request healthy recipes, contact Lisa Smith at 252-789-4370.