The Secrets to Eating Mindfully When Doing Everything From Home
Many people enjoy doing things around the house and not leaving the comfort of their own home. This makes it easy to forget about eating during those tasks, even though you may be burning a lot of calories doing them. In order to avoid losing track of what you’re eating and causing your body harm, follow these tips on how to eat mindfully when doing everything from home.
Find a good spot
Let’s say you’re working on a project or looking for something online—you want to make sure that you don’t get up from your desk at all during it. You can set a timer for how long you’ll be able to sit and work in one spot before going for a walk, meditating, stretching, or doing some sort of light exercise. As long as you stay in one place, you’ll know that when that timer goes off, it’s time to get up and do something else for your mind. This will also help relieve tension throughout your body. If it feels like you’re sinking into your chair after a few hours of working, don’t feel bad about getting up—your mind will thank you later!
Make space on your plate
If you’re eating dinner from a TV tray, even if it’s positioned in front of a lovely window, it can be difficult to slow down and savor each bite. It’s so easy for your brain to go into autopilot when you are not sitting at a table. It doesn’t feel like your real life so why not let loose? When you see someone eating slowly on television or in real life, they often have food spread out in front of them so they have time to appreciate their meal.
Get rid of distractions
The average American spends more than 11 hours a day consuming some sort of media, and many report that distractions like TV and computers get in their way when it comes to eating healthily. If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important not only to avoid excess calories but also to make sure you pay attention while you’re consuming them. Stay mindful of how much time you spend watching TV and cooking—keeping these activities under control will help keep your waistline under control, too. Also consider avoiding these top 10 distracters while dining out.
Start with what you can’t resist
If you’re trying to lose weight, there are bound to be certain foods that tempt you. If it’s chocolate, try finding a healthier substitute, such as dark chocolate with a high cocoa content. Alternatively, if it’s potato chips that tempt you, find some baked alternative and portion them out into baggies—you won’t eat an entire bag when faced with just one serving. You also might be surprised at how easy it is to eat healthy food on-the-go; keep a few apples or oranges in your car for snacking between meetings or at your desk. (If you have time before lunch or dinner, nothing wrong with picking up some fresh fruits and veggies for snacking too.)
Create an anti-distraction environment
Learning how to eat mindfully isn’t an easy feat for most of us, since we’re distracted by dozens of things on a daily basis. It’s actually quite easy for us to overeat, especially when eating at home. Anti-distraction habits and tools can help you learn how to eat mindfully and limit distractions that might prevent you from noticing your hunger levels or what it is you are actually putting in your mouth. For example, avoid checking your smartphone while eating dinner and try keeping food out of sight until you’re ready to enjoy it.
Choose more mindfully every time you eat
A recent study from UCLA found that mindful eating increases satiety, or feeling full after a meal. In fact, it actually triggers some of the same hormones and areas of our brain that control hunger. This means we feel satisfied sooner and are more likely to eat what’s healthy and avoid going overboard. So how do you eat mindfully? First things first: put down your phone or computer while you’re eating, so you’re not distracted by emails or social media. Try these tips for other ways to improve your mealtime mindfulness
Eat slowly and savor each bite
One of the easiest ways to eat mindfully is by slowing down. You might be surprised at how fast you scarf down your food when you are preoccupied with other activities. The next time you eat, try eating slower. Take one bite and savor it for a moment before taking another bite. By slowing down, you will find yourself more satisfied with less food since you’ll be able to appreciate each bite more fully and will take in your meal’s flavor. In addition, by giving your taste buds a chance to experience each flavor fully, you can enjoy smaller portions than if you wolfed down everything as quickly as possible.
Identify which foods trigger overeating for you
First, start off by having a journal of what you eat. At first, it can be difficult. But once you’ve tracked for a few days, it becomes much easier because your brain can correlate what you ate with how you feel (this is why I recommend starting at least two weeks before your trip). Once that correlation has been made in your mind, try eating some of those foods without tracking them. Do they have different effects on your body? How do they make you feel? Do they affect what else or how much you eat?
Are there specific meals where overeating happens?
It happens to all of us—those times when you sit down for a meal and take a bite, then suddenly realize you’ve over-eaten. (Hey, it happens.) So what causes overeating? Sometimes it’s just an accident; you got busy and lost track of time. But other times it can be chalked up to simple distraction. One big culprit is that almost all of us have food in front of us much more often than we used to; some experts say your average office worker has about five hours of food-related distractions each day.
The most important thing is that you set goals. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up once in a while, and don’t beat yourself up for not reaching a goal, because that can set you up for failure. If your goal was 1,000 calories per day, then eat 1,000 calories per day! So long as you reach your calorie intake and meet your macronutrient goals (see below), you’ll lose weight and be healthy. If not? Next week will be better!