Eat Like You Mean It! The Secretto Using Food to Enhance Your Health
by Dr. Jill Langer
I’d like to share with you a powerful skill that will impact yourhealth and well-being virtually the moment you begin using it. It will cost younothing but your time, attention, and patience. I know, that last one can be areal challenge! But as with all things, practice is the key to developingpositive changes.
The skill is mindful eating. It entails bringing our attention andawareness to the process of eating. Doing so actually prepares the mind andbody for food by increasing the production of digestive enzymes and readyingour metabolism. This means you will enjoy your food more, eat less, and digestit better as your absorption of the nutrients in your food is enhanced. Soundgood? Here’s how to do it:
1. Choose when you will eat based on how hungry youare. Using a scale of 1-10, with 1 being as hungry as you could possibly be,try to eat when your hunger is at about 3 or 4. Waiting until you are toohungry will lead you to want to rush your meals and you will tend to eat morethan you need.
2. Turn off and put away all distractions. Notelevision, computer, cell phone, magazines, etc. If you are eating withothers, simply enjoy their company and conversation while you practice mindfuleating. You can even invite them to join you in practicing eating mindfully ifyou like.
3. Take a few minutes before you dig in to prepareyourself for the meal you are about to enjoy. Sit down in a comfortable spot.Take a few deep breaths. If you are having difficult or intense emotions, takethe time you need to clear your head and heart with a few more deep breathsand/or do some journaling to express your feelings and release them. Say aprayer and/or take a moment to be grateful for the food you are about to enjoy.
4. Chew each mouthful of food slowly andthoroughly. Your saliva has vital enzymes that will help you begin to breakdown your food and prepare it for digestion. Chewing your food 30-50 timesbefore swallowing will also aid your digestion and absorption of nutrients. At first, this will seem like a lot but withpractice, you will learn to develop this helpful habit.
5. Savor the smell, taste, and texture of yourfood. This not only enhances your enjoyment of your meal but will allow you toknow when you are just the right amount of full much sooner than eating whenyou are distracted.
6. Stop eating when you are comfortably full. If arating of 10 out of 10 is absolutely stuffed, you are aiming to stop eatingwhen you rate your satiety (fullness) at a 7 or 8.
Don’t be discouraged if this is difficult for you. That just means itis a very different approach to how you eat and you are all the more likely tobenefit from practicing mindful eating. As you continue this technique, youwill notice that you are feeling more satisfied with less food than you usedto. I hope you will enjoy the benefits of eating like you mean it; there aremany. Bon appetit!