Either using eyeball cues or measuring your food out, you may control your food consumption with portion management. But that can take a lot of work and mental gymnastics. (Is that piece of cheese the size of the tip of my thumb?) Instead, how about you just eat? And we do mean just eat.
“Put down your phone and turn off the TV and any access to social media while you are eating,” says DeJarra K. Sims, ND, assistant professor of naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University in San Diego and author of “Your Healthiest Life Now” (Inkwell Productions, 2015). Then try asking yourself the following as you take each bite, she says:
- What colors do I see?
- What does the food feel like in my mouth or in my hand?
- What does this food smell like?
- Does it taste sweet, bitter, sour or salty?
- What sounds do I hear as I bite or chew?
“When people are aware of what they are feeling and intentionally focusing on the thoughts, emotions and sensations of their body at any given moment, they have a heightened sense of self-awareness,” Sims says. “This self-awareness is what helps them to halt or redirect themselves before participating in any unhealthy activity.”
And if you’re worried that your lack of portion control will send your diet out of control, consider these findings from an Australian study that compared the effect of portion control and mindfulness education on eating behaviors: Those who learned about mindful eating tended to eat less than the subjects who were educated about portion control, though not significantly. Another study published in Appetite found that mindfulness will help reduce unhealthy food choices but that it will not necessarily help you adhere to portion control.
So while mindfulness may not keep your portions completely under control, it will help you eat until you’re satisfied. At some point, they should balance out.
Give it a rest: Meal timing
Try: Eating only when hungry