Eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full is conducive to managing your weight, no matter what’s on your plate. Yes, how you eat is just as important as what you eat.
How often you sit down to dinner, plate full of food, only to observe you’ve cleaned your plate minutes later? It’s not that you happen to portion out the exact correct amount of food you need each time. More than likely you’re in the habit of cleaning your plate, no matter what, and you’ve long forgotten how to use your body’s satiety and hunger cues. This article offers an instructional Starving or Stuffed scale to help you to re-learn those skills and to deploy mindful eating so you can enjoy your food, and eat better.
As you can see, number 3, 4 and 5 are where mindful eating takes place. With hunger under relative control, you are better able to pause and assess your motivation for eating by asking:
“How hungry am I?”
“Is this just my desire to eat because that treat looks appetizing?”
“Am I eating because everyone else is?”
“Am I bored?”
“Am I sad?”
“Do I even like this food?”
Using the Starving or Stuffed scale, you can aim to recognize which number your hunger registers.
If you frequently wait until number 1 before you eat, you can kiss mindfulness out the window! Hunger is a survival instinct. Trying to make the healthy choice when you’re starving? Good luck! Burgers, chips and ice cream call out to those waiting until number 1 on the scale. Next thing you know, you’ve gobbled everything in sight and you’re suddenly at number 7, stuffed, miserable and feeling ill.
This cycle can be broken.
Yes, how you eat is just as important as what you eat. So here is my suggested steps:
- Take pauses at regular intervals during the day to notice your physical hunger. Notice your thoughts around food.
- Eat when you’re at number 5. Yes,trust your body and eat when you’re hungry! It becomes easier to make the healthy choice you had intentions to make when you’re hunger is managed.
- Make your selection, sit down, remove distractions, eat slowly, and stop when you reach number 5 (this takes practise) even if there is food left on that plate.
- Enjoy your food.
How do you know if you are eating well? What is Healthy Eating anyways? Read Part 1 here.