How often do you pay attention?
Actually, let me re-phrase that. How often do you pay attention to what you’re eating?
I’m not talking about tracking your food on MyFitnessPal, carefully reading labels, or measuring out your portions. These are excellent tactical measures that bring about change for success, but are they yielding the tangible results you desire?
Hopefully so. But if not, then consider how often you taste the flavors, smell the aromas, sense the satisfaction and remember the experience of what you eat.
If you slam coffee and a muffin while driving, shovel in a sandwich over emails, or graze the night away while multi-tasking or sitting in front of the TV, it’s likely you’re not paying attention to the food going into your mouth. No judgement here…we all do it.
As we focus on integrating transformation into your daily routine, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of this Small Change, Big Impact health-habit:
Pay attention to your food.
In The Source for Weight Loss I spend an entire lesson on the The Source Life Area of Balance & Fulfillment, which is all about living life through your senses. When you pay attention to each bite of food or sip of wine, and truly enjoy the flavors, textures and how it sits in your stomach, you experience food in a way that becomes more savored and meaningful. Our senses – smell, taste, sight, sound and touch – inform our thoughts, behaviors and feelings about the world around us. If we eat without truly tasting or feeling, then we don’t engage the receptor sights in our brains that say, “Oh that is delicious!”, or “Wow, I’m really full”. As a result, we feel emotionally and physically dissatisfied after a meal, so we keep eating.
Eating mindlessly may also increase food intake at subsequent meals or snacks. In a 2011 study in “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” participants who played a computer game while eating lunch ate 100 percent more food than participants who ate lunch without distraction during a snack 30 minutes later. They also reported lower fullness ratings.
So let’s consider something. If you’re making healthy food choices, but you’re frustrated because you’re not seeing the results you desire, begin to think about how your other habits could be slowing the train. If you’ve transformed the important things like choosing more vegetables and cutting back on sugar, but you’re still eating in front of the TV, this could be the glitch in your transformation integration.
So here’s your Small Change, Big Impact action step:
This week, cut in half the time that you eat mindlessly. If you eat lunch in front of the computer every day, cut it back to every other day and spend the other days eating without distraction ~ try stepping outside to find a bench or picnic table. If you enjoy watching movies at dinner time, save that for the weekends rather than every night. Gift yourself with a little extra time tomorrow morning to eat breakfast at home, sitting down, eating quietly or sharing the slower experience with your kids. It can be done if you choose it. You’ll be amazed at how relaxed and satisfied you feel, along with being more aware and discerning around your food choices.
The micro-movements count. Bank them towards your success!