Instead of focusing on a list of hard-and-fast eating rules, psychologist, author, and speaker Dr. Susan Albers offers a welcomed concept: mindful eating. Rather than placing the emphasis on what to eat, she prefers to draw attention and awareness to how to eat. For anyone who has struggled with the tough cycle of fad dieting in the past, each of these tips from Dr. Albers can help rebuild a healthier relationship with mealtime.
Eating equals enjoyment: "We've really lost the art of savoring food. We just often kind of shovel it in without really thinking about it . . . but it doesn't have to be painfully slow. Sometimes people get that misconception that [mindful eating] is really slow eating, and sure, maybe it's at a slower pace, but it's really about paying attention, noticing what it tastes like. Is it salty? Is it sweet? We eat a lot of mediocre food. But when you start eating mindfully, often times people become pickier. You don't want to just eat any little food; you really want to experience it."
Keep reading for two more of Dr. Albers's tips toward mindful eating.
Hunger, not habit: "When you really start to become more aware of all your eating habits, you notice how many habits you have around eating, and we're often just mindlessly eating without really being hungry . . . we often have habits around certain time periods. Often my clients will talk about habits like eating at night in front of the TV. Mindfulness helps us to turn that around. It's helpful in changing those habits without starving, without cutting out the foods you love."
Small changes, big results: Your relationship with food may not change overnight, but there are plenty of small shifts to make in your food rituals that will offer big results: "My mantra is when you eat, just eat — stop multitasking — sit while you eat, it sounds kind of silly and simple, but we stand a lot while we eat and walk around. And when we do that we lose track of how much we're eating."