At times we can concentrate too much on what we eat and overlook the how. Mindful eating is a technique that encourages a more conscious way of living. It is also a strategy for working with dysfunctional eating issues, such as binging.
Dr Susan Albers five S’s of mindful eating
1. Sit down. Don’t eat standing up. Break snacking on run (or while standing at the refrigerator) by sitting down to eat, regardless of whether it’s a snack or a meal.
2. Slowly chew. Try eating with your non-dominant hand, as it slows down eating down by about 30%. “Pace don’t race”. Research shows that we tend to eat at the same pace as others. Pay attention to your own chewing, rather than other people’s speed.
3. Savour food. Break the “zombie eating” habit by not snacking or eating meals in front of television or other distractions. Take mindful bites starting with the first one, which is full of new sensations and flavour when we are attentive. “When you eat, just eat”.
4. Simplify. Place healthy foods in a place where you can see them. Change the lolly jar for a clear glass bowl of fruit.
5. Smile. Consciously smile between each bite. It creates a pause so you can consider each mouthful and consciously decide if you need to continue eating. “Take a breath to manage stress”.
Dr Albers snack tips
Albers recommends pistachios in their hulls as a great snack, as you need to slow down and peel them. (I’d add to make sure you choose unsalted pistachios as salt is so moreish).
Another option she suggests is a mandarin, which is a perfect handful. Smell the aroma as you peel it. Pop one segment in your mouth at a time.
You can download Dr Albers Five S’s poster at her site.
Thanks to Melli O’Brien and The Mindfulness Summit for the Susan Albers interview. The summit runs throughout October 2015 and interviews are uploaded daily but are free for 24 hours. If you’ve missed the Summit you can buy and download the entire series.
If you’re struggling with your diet or stress and would like to live a happier and healthier life, you can work with Gill from anywhere in the world to create your unique Wellbeing Plan .