Weight Loss Wednesday: Always Stop and Smell The Radishes... er, Roses
This week we are taking another look at mindful eating- the concept of eating with intention and focus. Several studies published by top institutions, such as Harvard Medical School, have shown that mindful eating can help with weight loss and may lead to healthier food choices overall. In today’s fast paced society, we are subjected to high levels of stress and increased pressure to perform our jobs (and indeed live our lives) at light speed. As such, we have become somewhat alienated from our food, often times treating it more as a convenience fuel or a coping mechanism than anything else. Herein lies the problem.
If food was just fuel and humans were just internal combustion engines, I doubt anyone would overeat. But its just not that simple. We are more than mouths and our relationship with our food goes way beyond fuel for our daily activities. Food is the original drug of choice, and has many additional functions above and beyond its capacity to nourish us bodily, at times acting as a comfort, an anti-depressant, a stress-relief remedy or a celebratory party drug. Simply put, food gives us pleasure. In fact, recent studies suggest that certain chemical within some foods may act on the same receptors in our body as drugs such as heroin and opium, giving an all new meaning to phrases like “sugar addict”.
Now, what does this all mean in terms of mindful eating? Simple, it means that in some degree, we are always chasing our next food high. By slowing down, using your senses to their fullest (touch, taste, smell, sight), you are giving yourself a chance to recognize and appreciate the pleasure in your meals, which has been shown to reduce over consumption and therefore may lead to better weight maintenance or even weight loss. So this week, make an effort to slow down, notice your food and take time to smell the roses…er, radishes? Rutabagas? Rye bread? Ok. You get the idea. See our tips below for ideas on how to slow down and appreciate your foods.
1) Eat your meals away from distractions such as books, computers or mobile devices, the television.
2) Use all of your senses and think about your experience. What does your food look/ taste/ smell/ feel like? How does this change as you chew it?
3) Put your utensil down between bites and take a moment to appreciate the food you’reeating and how it got to be on your plate.