Have you ever eaten your lunch or your dinner and then realized that you don’t even remember eating it? Or that you don’t recall anything about the last six bites because your mind was mulling over the events of the day?
Well if you have, then welcome to the club! You along with most people are guilty of eating without paying any attention to the food at one point or another.
The problem is that portions have gotten much bigger, restaurant meals have gotten much fattier, social events have gotten much more food-oriented, lives have gotten much more complicated, and mindless eating now comes at a bigger price. The number of people getting overweight and having to go on drugs for diabetes and high blood pressure is staggering and increasing.
Guess what. There is good news! If you are one of those people, you can take back control. You can learn how to slow down, how to tune into your internal hunger/full signals and how to stop eating when your body doesn’t need the food. You can learn the skills of managing anxiety without food and you can learn to change your habits so that healthier food choices end up being what you crave. It may take a little bit of time to learn all this, but there is no shortage of time. Have patience. You can get where you want to go.
Let’s start with the Stop and Taste Assignment. Paying attention to what you are eating is the middle ground between zoning out and being hyper vigilant and obsessive about your foods. Use the acronym TASTE every time you put a bite of food in your mouth. This will require that you stop and ask yourself questions as you are eating.
You will ask yourself a question for each letter of the word TASTE, for each bite of food. T = temperature (Is this hot, warm, freezing, etc). A=aroma (What does this food smell like? Is the smell strong? Can I enjoy this food just by smelling it?)
S=speed (How fast am I eating? Am I putting my fork down in-between each bite? Am I giving my brain enough time to even register that there is food in my stomach?). T=texture (What is the texture of this food? Crunchy, creamy, mushy, sticky, etc? ). E= experience (What is the overall experience of eating this food in my mouth? Is it sweet, sour, bitter, salty, spicy, rich, etc? You may also identify that the experience is relaxing, stressful, exhilarating, etc).
This exercise will begin the process of using a different part of your brain while you eat. Try to analyze one meal a day for one week, and then try to increase to two meals a day. Eating mindfully can become a new habit that has the power to change your entire relationship with food. Is it worth it to you to go for this challenge? And don’t forget: you are in charge! You can do anything you put your mind to. Promise.
Nutrition Therapy: www.BetsyThurstonRD.com 404 295 1415