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Mindful Eating 101: A Beginner’s Guide

Practicing mindful eating is a powerful way to gain control of your eating habits. It can reduce binge eating and grazing to promote weight loss and help you reach your fitness goals. <!–more–> It’s easy to put on extra pounds when you’re not even paying attention to what you’re munching on and hard to lose those pounds without being deliberate in your actions.

Do you ever find yourself multitasking while you’re eating?

We often slip into this habit because we don’t even notice it at first. You stop paying attention to the food going into your mouth and instead focus on your smartphone, laptop, work, or Netflix.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. MindLESS eating is practically universal. It’s something most of us do almost daily. We do it to save time, keep ourselves entertained, and just out of habit.

So once you gain the awareness that this is happening, it’s important to begin creating a new “habit” of mindful eating.

The problem is, when you’re distracted, you barely even notice or taste anything you are eating.

When you consider that it takes about 20 minutes for our bodies to send “I’m full” cues to your brain, you can quickly see how easy it is to overeat. Not to mention, you end up ignoring how the food makes you feel – physically and emotionally. Plus, instead of eating because you’re hungry, you start to rely on outside cues like the temptation of seeing or smelling tasty foods.

When you eat on autopilot, without being aware and intentional about your actions, you start to pick up food just because it’s there — think dessert after dinner even when you’re full, or for entertainment’s sake, or to relieve boredom and other emotions.

This is where mindful eating comes in.

Basically, mindful eating means simply slowing down and really paying attention when you eat.

Start by picking one meal, using the basics of mindful eating:

  • Turn off the TV and put your phone out of reach.
  • Eat slowly, taking time to chew and taste each bite.
  • Focus on how your body feels with each bite.
  • Stop eating when you’re full.
  • And also, before and after you eat, note – without judgment – whether you are truly hungry, and whether what you just ate benefits your health, goals, and your well-being.

You don’t have to do this with every meal. Just start with one a day and see what happens.

When you start to tune in, you’ll probably notice that your habits and food preferences begin to change, and you’ll begin to make choices that help you feel better and reach your goals faster.

To get something different, you have to do something different! Mindful eating is a great way to start.

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