Are you eating while reading this on your phone or computer? Do you frequently snack while watching TV? From time to time, we're all guilty of it. We sit down to a wonderful meal and pull out our phones or computers to check social media or watch our favourite show. Now, I'm not attempting to blame anyone for this behaviour; as I previously stated, we're all responsible! But I'd want to talk about how 'screen eating' can be harmful to our health over time.
Focusing on the present moment while calmly observing and accepting your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations is what mindfulness is all about. Mindfulness principles apply to mindful eating as well, although mindful eating is a notion that extends beyond the person. Mindful eating also considers how your choices affect the environment around you.
Although the optimal mindful-eating food selections are comparable to the Mediterranean diet, they may be applied to a hamburger and fries. You can eat these types of foods less frequently if you pay close attention to what you eat. In essence, mindful eating entails paying close attention to your food while purchasing, preparing, serving, and eating it. Adopting the technique, though, may necessitate a few changes in how you approach meals and snacks.
Eating in front of the TV. The TV room has become today’s dining room, have you noticed? Did you know that the television has taken over from the dining room table as the hub of the family life? A recent study has revealed this to be a fact. Incredible but true, researchers found only five hours a week are spent eating together now with double that amount of time spent in front of the flat screen. This study also found that families now ‘bond’ during reality TV shows such as “Dancing on Ice” and “I’m A Celebrity”.
Eating whilst watching TV is not the best, little attention is paid to how foods are chewed, and we all know the stereotype of the couch potato: Somebody who sits on a couch, eats chips, chocolate, TV dinners and is generally lazy, and who only gets off the couch to grab more beer or a take-away. But wait up, what about the child who sits in front of the screen, night after night? Increased television viewing is directly correlated to a higher BMI, or body mass index.
Why is that? Well, a study undertaken by the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore have revealed that most people wrongly estimate how many calories they are consuming when they watch TV and eat simultaneously. And if watching TV makes it difficult to know how much you are really eating, you’re much more likely to overeat if you eat in front of that TV screen than if you eat quietly at your dining room table. That means more fat and calories, less chewing, quicker eating, little attention paid and as a consequence – much more of a chance that you’ll eventually be significantly overweight or obese—all because of that regular soap, hospital drama, DVD or criminal series you just can’t live without.
1. Begin by making a grocery list. Consider the health benefits of each item you add to your shopping list and stick to it to avoid impulse purchases. Avoid the centre aisles, which are heavy with processed goods, and the chips and candy at the check-out counter by filling your cart mostly with produce.
2. Bring a hungry appetite to the meal, being not too hungry. If you skip meals, you may be so eager to get something into your stomach that filling the vacuum takes precedence over enjoying your meal.
3. Begin with a modest amount of food. Limiting the size of your plate to nine inches or less may be beneficial.
4. Take pleasure and enjoy your food. Before you start eating, take a moment to think about all that went into bringing the dinner to your table. Express your thankfulness quietly for the opportunity to enjoy delicious cuisine and the company you’re with.
5. Engage all of your senses during the meal. Pay attention to colour, texture, aroma, and even the sounds that different foods create as you prepare them when cooking, serving, and eating. Try to identify all of the ingredients, including seasonings, as you chew your food.
6. Eat only in tiny portions. When your mouth isn’t full, it’s easier to taste everything. Between bites, put your utensil down.
7. Thoroughly chew. Chew thoroughly until you can detect the flavour of the food. (Depending on the food, you may need to chew each mouthful 20 to 40 times.) You might be amazed by the variety of flavours available.
8. Chew and eat your food slowly. You won’t have to bolt your meal down if you follow the tips above. Before you start chatting with people at the table, devote several minutes to mindful eating.