Mindless eating can derail your weight loss and health goals because you become unaware of how much or what you are consuming. A lot of my new weight loss clients say, ‘I don’t know how I gained this much weight. I don’t eat that much.’ I respond by asking them a series of questions to assess if they are “mindless eaters.”
If you are struggling with your weight, answer the following questions: Do you eat while driving? Do you eat in front of the TV or the computer? Do you eat while standing or walking? Do you tend to munch or graze during the day, taking a handful of this or that? Do you eat everything on your plate? Rather than putting your fork down between bites, do you hold onto it for dear life? Do you eat the leftovers from your children’s plates?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re probably mindlessly eating. You are not in sync with your stomach, so you are not fully attentive to your body’s cues telling you when to eat and when to stop. Trust me, you pay dearly for this mindlessness: a handful of nuts will cost you 700-800 calories; a handful of chips can be 160-200 calories; and, four Hershey Kisses from the candy dish at work are 102 calories. And, if you eat fast, you could consume almost 50% more calories than you would if you were cued in. This is why mindless eating is so disastrous.
To maintain a healthy weight, the most important habit you have to develop is mindful eating. Here are some tips to help you practice.
1) Before you put anything in your mouth, hit the mental pause button and ask yourself “am I physically hungry?” If the answer is no, don’t eat.
2) Eat slowly, put the fork down between bites, and don’t pick it up again until you’ve thoroughly chewed and completely swallowed your food.
3) Do not eat meals while watching television (I know this is a tough one, but try it).
4) Avoid eating while driving as this type of multitasking is not healthy or safe.
5) Have a food plan for the day and eat only what is on your plan.
Many of my clients who practice these strategies daily see their weight and health improve faster than they would have previously imagined. I encourage you to try these tips and let me know how you are doing!
New York Style Guide