Be mindful. Be present. Be here, now. Meditate. Pay attention. I can go on and on with expressions meant to remind us to be aware of what we are doing in the present moment. These sayings/reminders are great… if they’re being applied. Let’s take a second to review what it means to be mindful.
By definition, to be mindful means to be conscious or aware of something. We always hear statements like be mindful of what you say, be mindful of what you do, etc. The key here is to put mindfulness into practice. This leads us to the topic of mindful eating.
Dissecting the phrase mindful eating; to be aware of what one is eating or considering eating. Too often we eat subconsciously, not giving any attention to our meal. We are constantly distracted with television, our cell phones, computers, etc. It is common to sit in front of the television and just snack away on a tasty dessert. Below are a few tips to help us all be a bit more mindful while we are eating:
- Put your phone on silent and face down somewhere away from the dining area.
- Ask yourself how hungry you really are. This will help you assess how much to serve on your plate. Once you evaluate your hunger status, serve yourself accordingly.
- Another question to ask is “do I really want this?” Oftentimes we eat because the food is there, in front of us. This is especially common with dessert.
- Work on your habits. Remind yourself that dessert does not have to be eaten every time after a meal.
- Remember that you do not have to eat everything on your plate. This is a common habit we are programmed with at a young age.
Remind yourself and your family & friends next time you are all having a meal together to be mindful. Take time to enjoy each other’s company. Remember the tips listed above. They will help with unwanted weight gain and they will help with maintaining good health. Disconnect for 30-60 minutes and be present, because the present is a gift.
By Erik Bustillo, RD, CISSN, CPT