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Do you ever feel like you just scarfed down your lunch while in the middle of writing an email? Or have you ever mindlessly ate your dinner while distracted by your family?
In either of these scenarios, eating slowly probably wasn’t even on your radar. But did you know that by slowing down and being more mindful while eating you can not only save calories, but also improve your happiness, mind-body connection and help you feel more relaxed?
As a private weight-loss coach for women, I’m regularly being asked, “How can I lose weight fast?” My answer is always the same: Focus on the physical, nutritional, emotional and spiritual sides of weight loss, which can be applied to how we eat.
1. Ask yourself: How does my body feel while eating?
Try to eat more slowly, and see how your body responds. How many bites does it take for your hunger to subside? Are you feeling full yet or could you eat more?
Nutritionally, become more mindful of your food by focusing on eating protein, vegetables and fruit. Many of us don’t have a hard time adding carbs into our diet (in fact, carbs and sugar are big cravings for most people.) Instead, focus on what nutrients your body needs, and mindfully add in protein to your meal. When you fill up on protein, you’ll stay fuller longer and therefore cut down on calories from carbs or desserts.
2. Focus on all of your your senses.
Hey, fast eaters, here is some advice on how to slow things down: Enjoy the touch; how does the food feel? Enjoy the smell; how does the food smell? Enjoy the taste, and notice how you feel as you swallow the food. By paying attention to your senses of touch, scent, taste and feel, you’re becoming more mindful and learning to enjoy your food more.
3. Emotionally and spiritually, what is your body craving?
Often, when you’re trying to avoid the very thing you’re craving (like pizza!) you can end up eating double the calories of foods you’re not really in the mood for rather than just having that one piece of pizza that you really want.
Why not think about healthy swaps? Instead of ordering a pizza, could you put marinara sauce on a tortilla with a piece of cheese and salami? Craving French fries? Try chopping up sweet potatoes into fry-like shapes, and baking them in the oven. Thinking about how to turn your off-limit cravings into nutritious parts of your diet can keep you connected and in tune with yourself emotionally and spiritually so that you’re really working with your body instead of against it.