Long-lasting change takes time, which can make any lifestyle change challenging. The path to wellness begins by taking small, sustainable steps that you can control and making mindful choices when it comes to exercise and nutrition.
Here are four mindful eating tips for weight loss:
- Make an effort to cook at home.
- Eat slowly.
- Don’t try to fix feelings with food.
- Rest before eating.
Keep on reading to learn more about each item.
1. Make an effort to cook at home.
Cooking at home can help encourage mindful eating by making sure your kitchen is filled with delicious, healthy, and easily accessible meals and snacks. Making your own food puts control back in your hands and gives you the chance to plan for success.
Granted, it can be difficult to plan meals ahead of time—or even find the time to cook—to begin with. Stocking your pantry, freezer, and fridge with nutritious staples is essential to reducing the stress around food preparation. Here are some tasty kitchen staples you should keep well-stocked:
- Grains. Quinoa, rice, and oats can be great to have on hand to bulk up stews and soups or to put together a quick meal.
- Canned fish. Add protein and omega-3 to any meal with canned tuna, salmon, or sardines. You can also eat them with crackers for a healthy snack.
- Canned beans. Chickpeas, black beans, and cannellini beans are convenient, inexpensive, and healthy ingredients to make filling meals.
- Potatoes. Keeping varieties of potatoes will make it easier to whip up breakfast or dinner and to create simple side dishes.
- Nuts and nut butters. Nuts and nut butters like peanut or almond make for tasty flavor and texture boosters for sweet and savory meals.
- Dried fruit. Raisins, cranberries, apricots, and figs are wonderful additions to oatmeal and salads and are great for adding sweetness to meals. They also make tasty snacks!
- Dried herbs and spices. These are essential to any kitchen and can quickly elevate a meal. You can even opt for pre-made spice blends if you’re uncomfortable with blending your own.
2. Eat slowly.
When you sit down to eat, try to savor the experience. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2013 showed that not paying attention (especially visual distractions like watching TV) to the meal contributed to eating more.
Resist the urge to watch TV or scroll through your phone when you sit down to eat. Be mindful of what’s on your plate, and take the time to savor the scents and flavors of every ingredient and combination.
3. Don’t fix your feelings with food.
It may be tempting to try dealing with stress through emotional eating. This is because negative emotions can lead to feelings of emptiness, or an emotional void. For many people, food is a soothing and satisfying way to fill that void—but it doesn’t last forever. More effective emotional regulation strategies include meditation, exercise, and seeking out emotional support from trusted friends and family.
4. Rest before eating.
Getting to a relaxed state before eating may help you receive the full nutritional value of the food you’re eating. Being stressed can actually negatively affect your body’s ability to properly digest and absorb nutrients, lead to unhealthy cravings, and cause insulin spikes.
Hectic lifestyles can make it challenging to come to a rested state when it’s time to eat, but here are a few tips that can help:
- Slow down and put away distracting stimuli like laptops, TVs, tablets, or phones.
- Perform quick breathing exercises.
- Enjoy your food!
A fresh start
The journey to good health and nutrition is paved with the best of intentions but also obstacles. Be sure to speak to your primary care physician to discuss proper nutrition and weight management, or consult a St. Joseph Health bariatric specialist near you for safe options for losing weight, such as bariatric programs and procedures.