The rise of convenience food, eating on the run and the accessibility of snacking has led to an increase in mindless eating. That is eating without being fully aware of what we are putting in our mouth. We can consume, literally, hundreds of excess calories a day without, not only being unaware of them, but also without enjoying them or having them satisfying our hunger. Eating in this way is directly correlated to being overweight and it is something that we need to address.
Most people will argue that they simply do not have time to sit and eat a meal and, whilst this may be absolutely true, it is also something that we need to work on. Sitting and eating a meal, even if preprepared, is incredibly important! In many other European countries, that boast much better health stats than the UK, it is believed that their health is partly linked to people sitting down, eating together and enjoying a meal whether at work, with friends and, of course, family. This type of mindful eating leaves us feeling far more satisfied and much less likely to go looking for more food. Eating a sandwich at our desk, whilst doing work, might be timely, but as we barely register eating it, we look for add ons to satisfy us.
It is the same with snacking. If there is a box of chocolates in the office and we pick one up each time we walk by, we have eaten those calories in 3 seconds before even registering it. We would enjoy the chocolate far more if we sat and enjoyed it on a coffee break and, again, are less likely to go for more.
Mindful eating at its core is being fully aware of every single thing that we eat and, most importantly, enjoying it! A food diary is a an excellent tool to help us be more mindful and, from experience, I have seen the change in people when they see everything they have eaten and drank all day written down in front of them! All of a sudden the excess calories become quite clear. A food diary is just one option though, we can also simply stop ourselves when we are about to grab food on the go and decide not to eat until we have a moment or two to enjoy it.
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