Inhaling lunch while working. Eating breakfast on the way to work. Dinners spent scrolling through social media. In our modern lives, multi-tasking has become the norm.
But stressful, multi-tasking through rushed meals can have a huge negative impact on our health. Stress causes our bodies to release hormones that not only increase our blood pressure and heart rates, it also shuts down our digestion system. Eating while stressed leads to digestion issues, decreased nutrient absorption, and unwanted fat storage.
Simply slowing down and being more aware while you eat will help reduce your stress levels. Making a conscious effort to be mindful as you eat will ensure your digestive system is engaged while reducing chances of overeating.
Having trouble being present at mealtime? Here are a few quick tips that can help:
- Turn off screens – no cell phones iPads or computers
- Do a few deep breathing exercises to relax before you eat – inhale to the count of 4, hold for 7, then exhale for the count of 8
- Set a timer for 20 minutes – try to savor your food for the full 20
- Try to put your fork down 3 times during your meal
- Remember to breathe while you eat – stop at least 3 times during your meal to take a deep breath.
- Try chewing each bite 30 times and savor your food.
- Only eat until you're 80% full rather than stuffing yourself.
Fitting a slower-paced, mindful meal into busy schedules can be difficult. Make a date with yourself to eat one mindful meal this week. Next week add another "date" or two.
Small changes to how you eat can make a huge difference to your health – and your weight – over time. So, relax, savor and enjoy!