Kara's Tips for Mindful Eating

By Kara Simpson, Trainer and Health Coach at Milestone Fitness

A full stomach doesn't automatically create satiety in the brain. Chewing, tasting, and swallowing are internal cues letting you know the meal is over. Chewing slowly allows more time for your food to be digested correctly so its broken down to be processed- which if not done could lead to indigestion and other gastrointestinal problems.

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The stomach creates satiety signals based upon the volume of contents within, not the total calories taken in. Ever notice how you can eat an entire bag of chips without feeling full? The chips are easily ground to virtually nothing by your teeth, leaving plenty of unoccupied space in your stomach. This is unlikely to happen if you ate a bag of broccoli. Drinking water with a meal causes fullness much more quickly than food alone. This same conclusion also extends to so-called "high volume" foods like fruits and vegetables, which take up more space in your stomach than, say, bread or pasta.

Eating slowly leads to less food consumed but longer lasting satisfaction and portion control. It also yields better digestion, hydration, easier weight loss/maintenance and greater satisfaction of meals.

What To Do:

  • Slow down eating in a calm environment while sitting down
  • Choose high fiber foods that take more time to chew (fruits & vegetables)
  • Put down your utensil after each bite – breathe, talk, read
  • Set a specific number of bites at each meal or set a timer for 20 minutes to finish your meal
  • Use smaller plates- a “clean” plate is a cue that a meal is finished, so keep your portions in check
  • Don’t eat when you're starving – keep nuts or trail mix with you or in your car to have a small portion of to avoid the famished feeling
  • Set aside time designated to eat with no distractions to focus on what you're eating

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