In today’s day and age, food is EVERYWHERE around us! We have super easy access to (WAY!!!) more than what our bodies actually need. This has lead to us using food to fill way more than just our stomaches. We eat when we’re bored, when we’re lonely, when we’re depressed etc, etc. We often combine eating with staring at a computer screen, watching television, sending txt messages, driving, walking, and the list goes on and on. Often our minds are distracted as we shovel or chomp away on bite after bite. It’s not uncommon for us to lose track of how much we are actually consuming. For example, I’m sure you’ve watched a movie while eating a box of popcorn or a packet of chips to unknowingly reach the bottom of the bag/box and think wow they’re finished already!

What percentage of the food you eat on a weekly basis can you honestly say is eaten 100% mindfully? I’m talking, you sit down with no other distractions and savour every bit, appreciate every texture, taste, colour and smell. You’re not thinking about what you have to do after you finish eating. Not rushing through every bite.  Just sitting enjoying your meal and recognising when your body is telling you it is full and satisfied. 50% of the time? 40%? 20? Maybe even 10%?

It’s no new revelation that we live in a very fast paced world today. Our days are jam packed full of things we need to do (or perhaps think we need to do). Eating and nourishing our bodies does actually take up a decent slice of each day. So really, it’s no wonder that we try and combine it with thinking about and doing other things. But the huge down fall of this is that we end up eating WAY more than what we need because our brain is too busy processing other information than to even recognise our bodies signals of satiety (fullness).

5 Tips to Avoiding Mindless Overeating

1. Serve yourself up a smaller portion to begin with. As kids we often have drilled in us that we have to finish all the food on our plate. When you are REALLY hungry it’s easy to overestimate how much food you actually need. But because of that childhood conditioning we usually end up mindlessly finishing every last painful bite regardless of how full we are.

2. Avoid eating any meals at your desk at work, or near a computer, television, smart phone, iPad or any other similar device. Research has shown that when distracted by technology you grossly underestimate how much you eat and hence tend to eat much more.

3. Don’t constantly pick at food, set proper meal times and dish up an appropriate portion size. It is mind boggling how many extra calories you can consume in a day without even realising it when you walk past a packet of chips on the bench at home or work mates desk at work and grab a handful each time you pass.

4. Be present in the moment while eating. Rather than mindlessly shovel food down your throat while you think about how you are going to find the time to pick up the kids this afternoon, make dinner, get them to their sports, fit in your own training and finish off the washing and ironing. Try pretending like you are a food critic at a restaurant and have to rate the meal you are eating for taste, texture, smell and presentation.

5.  Eat using your non-dominant hand. Although this may sound a little silly, it really does slow down the pace at which you eat your food and hence your body gets a better opportunity to pick up on the signals when you are full.

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