It’s a discouraging feeling: you’re plugging away at your weight loss goal, and everything is going great! Then, out of nowhere, you hit a plateau and the weight stops coming off.
If you’re in this situation, it’s time to try a new tactic to get out of your weight loss rut. First, let’s take a look at what might have gotten you there in the first place.
Mindless eating is one of the key reasons many people struggle with losing weight. It’s the kind of eating that goes on when you’re not even thinking about it—a handful of snacks in between meetings, for example, or the lunch you scarf down from your desk.
Here are some telltale signs you might be guilty of mindless eating:
- You multitask while eating, doing other things simultaneously like driving or working
- You eat while you’re on the phone
- You eat while watching TV or browsing the internet
- You eat when you get bored or to give yourself a “break” from work
When you do these things, chances are that you might not catch the signal from the brain that you’re full. It takes about 20 minutes from the time you’re physically full until your brain actually knows it!
Subsequently, this may cause you to overeat.
So what can you do to counteract this problem? Eat mindfully.
We can eat more mindfully by reducing the number of activities we do while eating.
Here are some tips to eat more mindfully:
- Turn off your TV, phone, computer and radio while eating
- When eating at home, sit at a table and focus on the meal
- Count how many times you’re chewing each bite. Aim to count to 25 for each bite until food becomes liquid consistency. If you’re not chewing your food thoroughly, your body might not be able to digest, absorb, and assimilate it
- Take stock of what kind of food is in your house. What choices are you promoting?
- When you feel compelled to grab a snack or make a meal, ask yourself why you’re eating. Become aware of whether you’re really hungry or just bored or stressed
- Stop for a moment before eating; creating rituals around food can help you become more mindful. Take a minute to feel thankful for your food, say a prayer or just acknowledge what’s on your plate.
- Take note of balance on your plate. Are all the three major nutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrates) present? Is your food more than one color (full of phytonutrients) for maximum health benefits? Are those high quality/whole foods or processed foods? Is the portion size right or out of balance?
By eating more mindfully and practicing mindfulness in other areas of your life as well, you’ll reduce your stress levels, promote mental and physical health and may shed those extra pounds that have been plaguing you.