How often do you eat while driving, walking to class, studying or looking at your phone? Do you ever find yourself captivated by a movie or show you find yourself devouring popcorn or snacks with mindless abandon? Under these circumstances it’s difficult to be present for our body’s hunger and fullness cues or for the experience of the food itself. This can also be a set up for tummy troubles. Let’s explore the pitfalls of mindless eating further.
Missed Hunger and Fullness Cues
It takes a good 20 minutes for the gut to signal the brain when fullness occurs. So, imagine being tired, stressed and hungry. This can easily lead to quick and unconscious eating. How much food can be consumed in 20 minutes? The message of full won’t happen until it’s too late.
Stuffed, Not Satisfied
Eating is one of the most sensual things we do. It involves the way food looks, sounds, smells, tastes and feels. When our attention is on something else, we may miss out on these senses and not be satisfied with what we have eaten regardless of how much we consumed.
Multi-tasking may be perceived as stress by the body. Stress and digestion do not reside well together. When our body is preparing to fight or flee, digestion is not the priority. We are much more prone to bloating, gaseousness, heartburn and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. In addition, if we are eating rapidly we tend to ingest more air and chew less thoroughly leading to stomach upset.
Follow these four mindful eating steps to reconnect with your body and create a healthy relationship with food:
- Assess your hunger
- Determine which foods will be satisfying
- Be present while you eat
- Limit distractions
- Place utensils down between bites of food and chew thoroughly
- Notice how food looks, sounds, smells, tastes, feels
- Identify the point at which you have eaten just enough (not too much, but not too little either)?