You’re at the dinner table with all your close friends. You have filled up your plate with so much awesome good eats. You are engaged in epic conversation. You pick up your fork to take a bite of food. Epic conversation continues. Then, the friend sitting next to you says, “Hey, would you like more?” That’s when you look down at your plate and realize its empty. You are unsure as to how you managed to eat that much food and not even realize it. However, you don’t feel full, so you say “yes.”
Sound familiar? How does this happen? This is what I call Mindless Eating. When you sit at a dinner table with friends and family, typically, you just eat mindlessly. Your focus is on the conversation, not your food. Although, it is awesome to have fabulous conversation with friends, this very scenario is one reason we tend to over eat. Lets take a look at the word Mindful.
The word “mindful” actually means to be conscious or aware of something. This means, in order to eat mindfully, you need to shift your focus to your food. Clearly, this tends to be easier if you are eating by yourself with zero distractions (ie, TV, book, Music, etc). However, we live in social society. One in which the central focus tends to be around food and drinking. And, with the Holidays arriving, it gets even harder to eat Mindfully. Many parties abound, not to mention thanksgiving dinner, Christmas dinner, then New Years Eve. What can one do?
1) To start with, drink a full glass of water before you eat.
2) If you have an option, choose a smaller plate and don’t get seconds, even if you don’t remember eating any of your food.
3) Place your fork or spoon down after every bite.
4) If you decided that you MUST HAVE seconds, drink another full glass of water before hand and wait a few minutes before you refill your plate, just to make sure that you’re actually still hungry.
5) Don’t talk with food in your mouth or on a spoon/fork. If you choose to speak, finish your food or place your utensil down. This reminds you to pay attention to the food your eating instead of just shoveling it in your mouth.
6) If you wanna get real wild and crazy, pay attention to your food. Actually take a moment to smell it as you lift your fork to your mouth. Ask your friend to pause their monologue so you can taste every seasoning in that bite. Enjoy how it tastes. Really enjoy each and every flavor.
7) If you wanna sound impressive AND you want to eat mindfully and NOT overeat, you can change the topic of conversation to the food that is on the table. Get your dining mates to begin discussing how each flavor tastes, as if you are wine tasting but with food. This simple (and sneaky trick) change in conversation, allows the focus to be placed back on the star in the room: The Food. When most people have to think about what they are eating, then tend to eat slower. When everyone has to discuss the food, they eat even slower so that way they can describe each flavor to everyone at the table. Remind everyone, that they can continue their non-food conversation after dinner is finished.
Most importantly, being mindful of your food helps you to develop a healthy relationship with your food. It allows you to slow down long enough to make a conscious decision, “Do I really need this? Do I really need more? Or am I satisfied?” Or, Just do what my bestie and I do. Get dressed up in fancy clothes and pretend your Parisian for a day.