Mindful eating is a great concept. There is even a center devoted to it. It involves thinking purposefully about what you ingest and why. However, when you are busy, it is easy to slip into old patterns.
Sometimes, having a few tricks under your sleeve can help. Some of these are like mind games. But the more often you do it, it will become habit.
- Eat on a smaller plate. I use my salad plate as a dinner plate.
- Make food very hard to get. For example, if you want a second serving, you should have to go back up to the kitchen to get it.
- Take a sip of water after every bite.
- Talk more if you are with a group. It will slow down the pace.
- When eating out, tell the waiter to box half of the dish prior to bringing out the meal. Economical. It will be tomorrow’s lunch.
- Order a kids-sized meal whenever possible. (This is generally cheaper, too. If there is a toy involved, I hide it and save it to pacify a little one later).
- Redefine dessert (a little fruit will do just fine) and do not make it a necessary part of dinner. If we do this regularly in our families, our children will grow up to expect it.
- When presented with a meal, look at the vegetables as the main course, then the meat, then the carbohydrates. Note that this is the reverse of what we normally do.
- At a buffet, do a variation of #5: serve yourself vegetables first and save the richer and carbohydrate-laden foods for last.
- Stash healthy snacks at work so that you are not tempted by the snack machine. Unsalted almonds, yogurt, peanut butter on a slice of bread, dried fruit with just a sprinkling of dark chocolate chips.
- Avoid saying “I can’t eat” this or that food unless you have an allergy to it or it interacts with a medication you are taking. Deprivation feeds longing and future binging.
- If you are inclined to have juice, water it down with 50% water. (Saving money again)
- When making a carb-laden dish (like pasta) load it with veggies and lean protein. You’ll eat less carbs per serving that way.
- Don’t tell yourself or anyone else that you are “on a diet,” which implies there is a beginning and an end. Remove the word from your brain.