How to change the way you eat and lose weight

Dietitian Suzanne Pearson shares her tips to eat mindfully for weight control and loss.

Have you ever eaten past the point of feeling comfortably full? Or reached for a snack when you weren’t actually hungry? Practicing mindfulness can help you identify eating behaviours that may be sabotaging your health.

Lite n’ Easy Well-being Advisor Suzanne Pearson explains how mindfulness can help you identify eating behaviours that may be sabotaging your health.

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How can practicing mindfulness help me?

You may have heard about mindfulness – the practice of being fully present and engaged in the moment without judgement. Being mindful is something you likely already do in many of your day-to-day activities. And, with practice, you can bring mindfulness into everything you do.

This state of ‘presence’ can impact on various aspects of life, including your mood, energy, sleep and indeed, the way you eat.

Where to begin?

Being mindful occurs whenever you bring your attention to what you are experiencing in your body and/or mind.

When you practice mindful eating you tune in to your internal cues about what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat – providing your body and mind with both the pleasure and nourishment it needs to thrive.

Like anything, eating mindfully takes patience and practice. These tips may help you on your way.

1. Heed your hunger

Get to know your hunger. Whether a rumble in your belly, a feeling of light-headedness or sudden tiredness, tune into the physical cues that inform you that your body needs fuel.

Heed your hunger rather than responding to external cues like a particular time or place or when tempted by the sight of food. And consider eating when you are moderately hungry, not ravenously so.

2. Speak to your senses!

Entice and engage all of your senses to maximise the enjoyment of your dining experience. Bring interest and variety to your food by including different colours, textures, flavours, aromas and even sounds that food make as you prepare and eat them.

This needn’t take too much effort or time. Add some veggies for crunch and texture; a smear of mustard for smell and flavour; or consider placing a simple sandwich on a colourful plate to speak to all of your senses.

3. Make meal time memorable!

All too often we grab a bite on the go – while driving, standing over the sink, sitting at our desk or watching TV. Should we take the time to sit down, we may find ourselves scrolling through socials or responding to emails leaving us disengaged from the eating experience.

When you are hungry and ready to eat, set aside time and space to honour your hunger.

  • Sit down to eat.
  • Switch off your devices and switch on your senses.
  • Allow time for the body to digest and nourish itself.

4. Savour the flavour!

To fully enjoy the eating experience, take small bites and chew your food thoroughly before swallowing. Finish chewing completely before preparing your next bite and place your utensils down between mouthfuls to avoid biting off more than you can chew.

Bring your full attention to the different tastes, flavours and textures of each bite. See if you can identify all of the ingredients, including any spices and seasonings. You may be surprised at how much more you enjoy your food when you savour the flavour.

5. Finish when full

It takes time for satiety signals to be communicated within the body. Focusing your attention on eating without distraction helps hone in on internal hunger and satiety signals. This will enhance the enjoyment of eating while helping to avoid eating past the point where you are full.

6. Nourish your Nature

Your overall health and wellbeing are influenced by so much more than just what you eat. Moving your body, getting the sleep you need, engaging with friends and family and taking time to rest and rejuvenate all play a part in nourishing your nature and satisfying your soul. Practicing mindfulness helps you become the expert in caring for your mind and body.

Suzanne Pearson is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Yoga Therapist and Well-being Advisor with experience across clinical and corporate health. She is passionate about empowering people with various physical and mental health concerns to take control of their health and wellness. Appreciating that no two people can be cared for in the same way, she works with individuals to understand their unique needs and offers personalised lifestyle solutions for health and healing.