I visited the salon over the weekend to pamper myself a little and get my beauty game back on! As I walked in, my stylist’s face took on this funny look, like she had seen a ghost. I had to ask her what the matter was and she responded with this question, “How are you able to maintain a perfect body weight after all these foods you tempt us with on your blog, or is it that you don’t eat the foods you make?” I laughed so hard I almost fell off my chair. Apparently she is one of the active followers of the Zeelicious Foods Blog, and truth be told she had put on some weight since the last time I saw her; she insists it’s all thanks to me and all the recipes I post on the blog. She said to me that she has decided to go on a food fast to enable her control her weight but I had to tell her it was a wrong move.
I told her that I am a big time foodie and I eat everything that looks and tastes good, which includes everything I make. But what makes the difference for me is the fact that I mind what I eat; I am conscious of my portion intake, I eat at the right time and I also take good advantage of the gym and my work-out gears. I told her that eating is not the issue; it only begins to have a negative effect on your body if not consumed for the right reasons, in the right proportion, and at the right time. I gave her few tips that have helped me over the years, and encouraged her to begin to practice them. I have listed these tips below for your benefit as well. You are welcome! I hope you find them helpful, because learning how to eat right and eat mindfully can help with weight loss, or weight control.
Eating is a natural, healthy and pleasurable activity for helping your body get all the nutrients it needs to stay active. However, many eat without paying attention to what they are consuming and this takes effect on their bodies and general wellbeing.
Mindful eating is eating with the intention of caring for your health and eating with the attention necessary for noticing and enjoying your food and its effects on your body. Mindful eating is much more than just eating slowly and without distraction, it also involves choosing food for both enjoyment and nourishment and eating for optimal satisfaction and satiety. Becoming aware of what you are eating takes some practice. For example, whenever you are about to eat and pause to ask the question, “is what I’m about to eat healthy?” You are able to observe your thoughts and choose how you will respond and this can help you decide whether to go on with the food or not. Instead of reacting mindlessly, mindfulness gives you response-ability.
You can learn how to eat mindfully so that you stop consuming extra and unwanted calories, become more in tune with the sensation of fullness in your stomach, and know when to stop when you have had enough.
Tips to Help You Eat more Mindfully
- Set out time to focus solely on eating. While you may feel too busy to take a break, you owe it to your body to give it the time and nourishment it deserves. Set aside time for meals. For example, take a lunch break at work; and before you go into the hustle and bustle of the day, be sure to enjoy a very healthy breakfast.
- Chew your food well before you swallow. This is probably the simplest and most effective way to develop the habit of eating mindfully. Extra chewing results in less overall food intake. Taking time out to chew your food also speeds up the digestive process and you are more likely to get full faster. Chew a spoon of food as much as 10-15 times before you swallow.
- Put your cutlery down between each bite. Doing this is an excellent way of complementing your chewing habit. The act of seeing your cutlery forces you to focus on chewing your food rather than letting yourself mindlessly pick at your plate for your next bite. It also encourages you to slow down and attend more to the taste of your food, instead of shoving it down your throat as quickly as possible.
- Put your food on a plate. Eating out of a bag is not a mindful practice. Get in the habit of placing packed snacks in a plate, no matter how small they are. This will force you to acknowledge exactly what, and how much you will be eating.
- Pay attention to flavors; the tanginess of lemon, the spiciness of chili pepper, the sweet-tangy taste of ketchup, etc. Paying attention to the details of your food can be a great way to start eating mindfully. It can be really hard to notice the flavor of your meal when you eat on the go or gulp down your meal in minutes. Savor the flavors and textures so that you can begin to understand what mindful eating is all about.
- Make sure you enjoy what is on your plate. Never eat anything you don’t enjoy, and truly enjoy everything you eat, bearing in mind the nutritional value of the food on your plate.
“Eating without any thought for your health can be fun but is not such a good idea all the time; eat mindfully and stay young.”
Eating right is also important to help you stay at a healthy weight and keep an energy balance (the balance between the calories in what you eat and drink, and the calories you burn when moving). The following tips will guide you towards the path of eating right:
- Prepare more of your own meals at home. This can help you take charge of what you are eating and also help you control the ingredients used in preparing the food.
- Drink plenty of water, at least eight glasses daily. It is very vital to remain hydrated at all times. This offers a lorry load of health benefits.
- Make every calorie count. Think nutrient-rich foods rather than good or bad foods. The majority of your food choice should be packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients. Making smart food choices can help you stay healthy, manage your weight and be physically active. Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat or fat-free milk. Also, inculcate lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts into your diet.
- Eat smaller portions. This rule is most beneficial to those who are looking to loose some weight. When next you are served with a plate of food, divide it into four portions and eat only one portion. (This has worked for me tremendously).
- Make the right changes. When cutting back on unhealthy foods in your diet, it is important to replace them with healthy alternatives. Replacing dangerous trans fat with healthy fats (for e.g. switching fried chicken for grilled chicken or switching from white pasta to whole grain pasta) will make a positive difference to your health.
- Eat at the right time. When you eat is as important as what you eat. Eat a healthy breakfast, and eat smaller meals throughout the day. Avoid eating at night; but if you eat, feast on fruit and vegetables only.
- If you do not have access to a gym facility, take advantage of that long stretch of road; put on your workout gear and go for a 30-minute/1-hour run, or just take a long walk. Your body will thank you later.
- Lastly, in the midst of your busy schedule, learn to set out a special time solely for eating.
Other Healthy Tips to Note Include:
- Eat with others whenever possible, this will help you control your portion intake and also help nurture better relationships.
- Avoid sugary and fizzy drinks. Stick to water as much as possible.
- Avoid processed or packaged foods.