Mindfulness is an important catch phrase in food — it means slowing down and paying attention to the taste, smell, and texture of what we consume. Plus, studies show that better appreciating what we eat may lead to a smaller waistline. “I am not a big fan of diets, mostly because they don’t work long-term,” says Jodi Baretz, a psychotherapist, best-selling author, and nutritional counselor in Westchester County. “My clients don’t even like the word diet, because it is stress-producing and fires off cortisol, leading to the storage of belly fat. I prefer mindful or intuitive eating because it is a lifestyle rather than a diet.” Below, Baretz rounds out five ways to begin eating mindfully.
1. Start to notice your hunger cues.
“Ask yourself, ‘Am I hungry?’ before you eat,” Baretz says of the first step to mindful eating. “If you wouldn’t eat an apple right now, you’re probably not hungry.”
2. Ride the crave wave.
“If you are having a craving, start to notice it and be curious about it before immediately giving in,” suggests Baretz. “Let it be uncomfortable for a moment, and ask yourself what you are really hungry for? Is it food or acceptance? Are you just stressed and need to pop something in your mouth — or just bored?”
3. Eat like a wine connoisseur.
“Slow down, smell your food, and taste each bite. Notice flavors and textures,” advises Baretz. “You may not even eat as much because you are actually tasting your food, or you may realize that you don’t even like Twix bars.”
4. Be mindful, not mindless.
“Ever wonder where the whole bag of chips went?” asks Baretz. “Take out portions from bags and don’t eat without intention. It is a waste of calories and enjoyment.”
5. Be prepared.
“Prepare snacks and dinners beforehand,” says Baretz. “Plan your meals. When you come home starving, willpower is out the window, and you’ll eat the first thing that is readily available, and it’s usually not the cut up celery sticks.”