There are a few steps you can take to get yourself prepared for your mindful eating diet.
These steps will make your transition to this new diet much easier, and make you more likely to succeed and not drop the diet. If you try to just jump right into the diet without taking a few steps to ready yourself, you’ll find it to be pretty difficult and a very jarring transition.
One step that you can take to get yourself ready is buying smaller portions of foods – especially those you love to eat that you deem “unhealthy.”
Instead of a large bag of chips, get individual portion sizes so that you become familiar with what a normal portion is. Get some healthier foods to balance it out, though, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grain, and white meats.
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Because no food is off limits, you’ll need to begin practicing how to balance the good with the “bad” so that you’re not living off of an unhealthy diet 24/7. You should also spend a few days before even making any changes to your diet just thinking about how hungry you really are while you eat.
The sooner you start taking note of things like this, the sooner you’ll get used to doing it naturally, making the whole diet a lot easier. Eat as you normally would, but just think about whether or not you’re really hungry when you eat – and to what point you eat, too – until you’re no longer hungry, or until you’re so stuffed that you’re miserable?
You’ll also want to get used to eating without doing something else at the same time. For example, you might be used to eating while watching TV, but that only leads to mindless eating, since you’re more focused on the TV than you are on how hungry you are.
Instead, try to get used to sitting down at a table and eating without any distractions. You’ll be much more observant about how much you’re eating and how hungry you really are, whereas if you were engrossed in a TV show, you could go through an entire large bag of chips without even realizing it.
It will also help if you roughly plan out your meals in advance. If you eat more on impulse, you’ll find that you end up eating more than you really should. Plan on eating a smaller sized meal, and then after you eat, wait before eating any more.
You can even prepare your smaller meals ahead of time and refrigerate them, so when you’re ready to eat them you can just microwave them. Try investing in smaller plates, too – more like the kid sized plates, bowls and cups.
This makes your brain think your plate is fuller, but the reality is, it’s a much smaller portion than you’re used to. It prevents you from overloading your plate with food your body isn’t truly hungry for.
Sample Meal Plan for a Mindful Eating Diet
One of the best parts about mindful eating is that you don’t have to follow an exact diet plan, with some foods being allowed and others not. While you should be incorporating more healthy foods, it’s not required with the mindful eating diet, since the whole point is just taking everything in moderation.
You can still have some dinners that aren’t that great for you, as long as you have less of it and only eat when you’re hungry and stop eating when you’re no longer hungry (not until full).
When craving snacks – make sure that your body is genuinely hungry for it. It might just be a mental hunger or even mouth hunger, where your mouth is used to the habit of eating.
If you are truly hungry, you have options. You can have something you crave that’s unhealthy, but try to use a very small portion of it to take the edge off – and use healthier foods to fill the rest of that void.
For example, fruits are a really great mid-day snack. Whether it be bananas, apples, oranges, or any other fruit, they can stop your cravings and provide you with lots of nutrients.
You can also snack on peanuts, almonds, and other nuts, which are good sources of protein. You may also want to get foods that you can make in advance and refrigerate. For example, you can cook and store some chicken and vegetables.
Raw chicken is fairly cheap when bought in bulk, and it can be cooked in many different healthy ways for variety. You can pair the chicken with either cooked or raw vegetables, store it all in some plastic containers, and refrigerate it.
If you end up eating out at a restaurant, you can usually get to-go boxes that let you bring a good portion of your meal home. It’s very easy to overeat at restaurants, since they give you such large portions of food and you don’t want to waste it.
Always ask for a to-go container and only eat until you stop being hungry, rather than eating until you’re full. You can always put the food from the restaurant into the plastic containers to keep it fresh for a longer time.
The best kind of food to eat on a mindful eating diet is food that’s fresh and enjoyable – and full of flavor. You want to eat slowly when you eat mindfully because it takes time for your body to send the signal to your brain that you’re not hungry anymore.
You don’t want the kind of food that you scarf down quickly and eat a lot of, especially those that are high in calories and not filling. Ideally, when it comes to mindful eating, you would vary the sizes and contents of your meals according to what you felt like eating and how hungry you were at that time.
Don’t follow a structured schedule when it comes to meals, setting a time for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. While you don’t want to graze all day, learn how to be in tune with your body’s needs and eat only when true hunger strikes.
Tips to Increase Success on a Mindful Eating Diet
When you eat mindlessly, you don’t realize how much you’re actually eating – especially since you don’t lay it all out at once before you eat it all. By keeping a log of what you eat and how much you’re eating, you can look back and see how much you’re really eating.
You don’t have to write it. You can create a private Instagram account and simply snap a picture you can look back on. You can even take 2 pictures per meal – a before and after, to see how much food you left on your plate.
Another good tip is to drink some water before you eat. The water will make you feel a bit fuller, making you want to eat less that you’ll usually want to. This also helps you get a good amount of water in your system, which will help you digest the food better.
Similarly, tea is a good thing to make and drink before eating or when you get the urge to snack when you’re not really hungry. Whenever you get the urge to snack without being hungry, work on a hobby that engages your mind and keeps your hands busy.
For example, you could mess around with some modeling clay or whittle some wood. It doesn’t really matter what you’re doing as long as it takes your mind off of snacking. You should also avoid doing other things while you eat – unless you take time to stop periodically and assess your hunger cues, with 10 being miserably stuffed and 1 being starving.
If you’re watching TV shows, movies, reading, or doing anything else while you eat, you’re not going to be paying attention to how full you are or when you stop being hungry, leading to mindless eating.
Make eating more of an event by sitting down at a table and only focusing on eating food. This will make you much more conscious of what and how much you’re eating. Some have even recommended watching yourself eat in a mirror, which can really make you see how much food you’re eating.
You can also end up eating less if you slow down and enjoy your food more. Many people tend to eat very quickly, and don’t really realize how much they’re eating when they do that. Instead, chew each bite thoroughly.
This will not only make the food more enjoyable, but it will also give your body time to let your mind know if it’s hungry or not anymore. Finally, you should still eat some of the things you like and enjoy eating, even if it’s not healthy.
The hardest part of diets for everyone is the immediate switch in food choices, so if you don’t pull such a hard switch, you’ll find it much easier to stick with. You shouldn’t feel bad about eating, you should just be mindful of how much you’re eating and know when to stop.
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