Prevea Health

Back to Basics with Mindful Eating

 
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If you visit Google and search “diet”, you will receive over 1,460,000,000 results. Talk about information overload!

It’s time to get back to basics and listen to our bodies. Incorporating mindfulness into your nutrition plan focuses less on what you are eating and more on how you feel. Mindful eating opens the doors to any and all types of food choices. Creating awareness on how you feel on the “hunger and fullness” scale is a key component to this approach. Food is fuel but it is meant to be enjoyed. Pay attention to the aroma, flavor and texture of what you are eating.

A simple way to incorporate mindful eating is to ask two questions during every meal:
  • Am I hungry?
  • Am I full?

Take a moment to reflect on how you feel and compare it to the scale below:
  1. Starving, no energy, very weak
  2. Very hungry, low energy, weak and dizzy
  3. Pretty hungry, distracted, irritable
  4. Beginning to feel hungry
  5. Neither hungry nor full, satisfied
  6. Slightly full and satisfied
  7. Full, but not uncomfortable
  8. Full, somewhat uncomfortable
  9. Very uncomfortable, stomach aches
  10. Very full, feel sick

This hunger-fullness scale can help you understand your hunger cues so you know when it’s time to start and stop eating. You will want to stay within zones 4 to 7 as much as possible for optimal health.
 
When you reach 3 or 4…
You don’t want to wait too long to eat or push your hunger cues aside as the chances of overeating are much higher. If you start to eat before you are very hungry, chances are it will be easier to make a healthy choice.
 
Here are some excellent snacks to tide you over until your next meal so you don’t get too hungry:
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Nuts
  • Plain yogurt with fruit
  • Vegetables and hummus
  • Whole fruit

A good tip to remember is to keep your snacks between 100 to 200 calories.
 
When you reach 6 or 7…
When you reach a 6, you should be just about satisfied. Usually, within 15 to 20 minutes after eating, you will likely be at a 7. To help you stop eating when you reach a 6, here are a few simple tips:
  • Keep serving dishes on the counter rather than on the dinner table.
  • Before you go back for seconds, wait a few minutes and check in with your hunger cues.
  • When you are at a restaurant and are served a large portion, ask for a to-go container right away. Place half of your food in the container before you start eating.

The hunger-fullness scale can be a simple way to check in with your cues on a daily basis. However, it does take time, so be patient. The goal is not to be perfect, but rather to make healthy changes in your eating regimens.
 
Remember, mindfulness is not about being perfect. Find comfort in creating an awareness and intention to the meals you choose to nourish your body.
 
To learn more about mindful eating, call (920) 272-1181.
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