Weight Loss Support - Mindful Eating

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07-25-2008, 11:52 PM

Gary and I have been discussing this issue for the past few days (usually after we have wolfed down our dinner) and he thought it would be a good topic to bring up here. :halfempty

We so often eat mindlessly, stuffing food in our mouths while working, driving, at the computer, in front of the TV...
I was shocked to learn that the average American spends 27 minutes a day eating his/her meals. :(

We need to slow down and fully experience all the elements of our food. We can slow down our eating by changing the way we chew our food.

Here are some tips I received from a nutritionist:
1. Place a bite of food in your mouth
2. Put your utensil down
3. Place your hands together while chewing
4. Begin chewing and deep breathing (chew at least 20-40 times before you swallow)
5. Concentrate on what you're doing

I tried this tonight at a restaurant. It wasn't easy to slow down and really enjoy my food. I had to make a conscienous effort to chew my food and think about it before swallowing. I ended up eating half my meal and taking the rest home.

07-25-2008, 11:59 PM
Angie - great post!
I really loved Brian Wansink's book Mindless Eating
It made me realize how much I hate out of habit, boredom, stress, etc. Truly using food as fuel and eating it mindfully, in the way that God intended is an almost radical thought these days.

07-26-2008, 01:16 AM

I asked Angie to post something about that mindless eating stuff.

We have been talking about it the last few nights...well she has when she gets home from her yoga...I pretty much quit paying too much attention when she said "put my fork down"...

Something must have sunk in though because tonight at dinner for Mexican food we decided not to do our Friday Night Splits. We both wanted to try something different. Angie had a beef enchilada plate, she brought home one of the enchiladas and almost all of the beans and over half the rice....she had more tortilla chips and salsa than usual though. Now I got a new dish for me at this place. It was 2 cheese enchiladas on top of a huge bean tostada. Because we weren't splitting it I figured I would bring half home. Well as we were talking I could feel my stomach getting full...and as I continued to eat these thoughts went through my head..

I should save half of this

What should I save?

I finished a year of my journey...30+ down...I deserve this

The tostada is soggy at the bottom...I'll eat it

I want the cheese enchilada...my favorite

Man I'm full

Only 1 enchilada left...not enough for lunch

I'll go ahead and eat it too

I left stuffed out of my mind....something I HAD NOT BEEN DOING THIS YEAR!

2 hours later and I still feel horrible...in my stomach!

Not in my head...I know it's a one time thing...one meal I blew...no big deal

but still I feel like crud!

I used to EXPECT to feel like this...I ALWAYS did this when we went out

like I would never get another chance to eat.

I need to be more mindful of my eating and ENJOY it..

not enjoying this feeling right now..or what I may see on the scale.

07-26-2008, 06:12 AM
Well like you said, it's a one time thing now. How great that it isn't still routine. And since you'll go right back to eating the better way you've learned on your journey of better choices, anything you see on your scale will be a blip.

There's at least three important things you've brought up here.
1) Slow down and appreciate your food. And some real techniques for how to do it
2) The mind games - "I deserve it"
"This part isn't up to my standard of quality, so I'll eat it now cause I won't want inferior food later"
"It's not enough for a whole meal, so I'll eat it now"
"I'm really full, but I'll take another bite, and another, and another"
3) How physically crummy it makes you feel.

And ANGIE - it's great to hear from you here.

The hardest thing to accomplish in appreciating your food is TO REMEMBER TO DO IT when you're facing that fresh plate of food.

07-26-2008, 08:01 AM
"This part isn't up to my standard of quality, so I'll eat it now cause I won't want inferior food later"

WebRover! :rofl: Oh my gosh, that one is amazing! :dizzy:

Yeah, Gary, that horrible, stuffed, nothing-is-digesting feeling--I hate that. It's one of the things that helps me not overeat now--knowing that that's going to happen. Cheese is a terrible thing that way... it just lays there... :(

But good for you for paying attention to the thoughts going through your head! That's quite a revelation. Once one sees how the mind plays tricks like that... it's easier to catch it next time.


07-26-2008, 10:24 AM
That's exactly what Paul McKenna is teaching people (in his "I'll Make You Thin"). I did realized, once I watched the program, how easy it is to eat twice as much without knowing how much you have eating if you eat & read the paper, watch the TV, etc. If one devotes one's full attention to the meal, then it really is possible to slow down and chew 30x before swallowing, etc.

One enchilada on its own may not be enough for lunch but if you added a big salad with lots of different veggies and maybe a mango for dessert, it may have been enough. It's so easy to get swayed and finish everything on the plate. But today is another day.
Hope you are feeling better today.

07-26-2008, 10:31 PM
Well like you said, it's a one time thing now. How great that it isn't still routine. ....................

Hoping it never becomes my normal routine again either!

Yeah, Gary, that horrible, stuffed, nothing-is-digesting feeling--I hate that. It's one of the things that helps me not overeat now--knowing that that's going to happen. Cheese is a terrible thing that way... it just lays there... :(

24 hours later Jay and it's still just laying there! :(

One enchilada on its own may not be enough for lunch but if you added a big salad with lots of different veggies and maybe a mango for dessert, it may have been enough.

I just bought 3 mangos yesterday too! Dang!....................

It's so easy to get swayed and finish everything on the plate. But today is another day.
Hope you are feeling better today.

Feeling a lot better! And not too bummed about last night.

The thing about it is gals...that was just one meal...just 2 enchiladas on top of tostada fixin's in a shell....a lot of calories but really NOT THAT MUCH food....for a man...guess I have been eating better than I thought!

07-27-2008, 01:36 AM
I haven't been STUFFED like that for a long time, probably 4-6 months. It used to be routine for me. I'd leave with too-tight pants and this sinking feeling that the bathroom wouldn't be my friend for a while.

The chewing 20-40 times thing doesn't work for me. Why? I take tiny bites. Minuscule bites. It drives my husband crazy. It is literally impossible for me to chew most bites more than 15 times.

Eating out is always a problem. You have $15 worth of food in front of you, not enough to take home, but too much to "waste". Then add in jabbering, and "ooo this is good! try some!" Restaurants are the bane of the mindful eater's existence.

07-27-2008, 10:42 AM
Angie had yoga yesterday from 1-7 so I made dinner. A simple pasta dinner, penne with chopped up turkey bacon and Bertolli Vodka sauce, I added a piece of garlic bread for both of us.

I intended to try the mindful eating....thought about it several times during the day.

When Angie and I sat down for dinner our conversation started.."So babe, how was yoga today?"...Angie proceeded to tell me all about her book work for the class then she said that she tried chewing her bites 30 times for lunch (she had her leftovers of enchilada rice and beans before she went to class) which was hard to do with rice.

As she talked I listened and ate....without thinking of my food....not once did I try to chew X amount of times...I just ate. I will say I didn't over eat, but I forgot to mindful eat ......

Maybe next time!

07-27-2008, 11:07 AM
My husband always says that my eyes are bigger than my stomach, i.e., that when I'm really hungry, I'll eat until I'm overfull because I am not listening to my body signaling that I've had enough.

So, what I'm going to try to do is eat the recommended serving size on products. I was looking for a new cereal to try yesterday, and as I was looking at the calorie count, I realized that I automatically double the calorie count because I assume that I will double the portion. In other words, I always automatically assume that the standard serving size will not be enough for me. I did this yesterday at lunch, too. I was so hungry that I mentally calculated how many calories it would be if I doubled the serving size of what I was eating. I stopped myself, though, and ate one serving. And you know what? I was completely satisfied and pleasantlly full.

I've realized that sometimes I am so focused on how good the food tastes, that I drown out my body's signals of satisfaction and fullness.

07-27-2008, 10:49 PM
Angie: Thanks for posting this. I've heard this before but only tried it for like a day. There never seems to be enough time in a day to do all the things we have to do. I'll make a conscious effort to slow down. I'm sure the benefits will be well worth it. :)

Gary: Congrats again on your successful year of weight loss!! :D

Thanks for posting your true feelings and experiences. I remember going through those same things many times before. I am now able to better control myself when deciding what to eat and how much. My DH is still working on that but I'm sure he'll come around soon. ;)

Keep up the good work guys!! :D

07-28-2008, 12:03 AM
Thanks Gals!

I tried putting my fork down between bites today for lunch and was 1/2 successful. We had 29 over for our monthly family lunch/dinner so it was a bit confusing with bocce balls ~ basketballs and shuffleboard flying ~ plus my little nephew pulling on dogs tails....but I did do better! I noticed a difference too!

07-29-2008, 09:38 AM
I "enjoyed" my dinner more yesterday. Had a second helping of salad. Carrots for an after dinner snack instead of some kind of chip...lost a pound too.

Thought about my food more.

07-29-2008, 11:35 AM
Hey Angie and Gary!

Gary, your little conversation in your head when you ate out is totally relateable. I've had that conversation so many times and it never gets old. Some day I hope to change that tape permanently, for now I sometimes win that battle and other times, I don't.

One thing hubby and I have tried twice now is to sit at the dining room table (instead of in front of the tv) and set a timer for 20 minutes. The object is to take the full 20 minutes to eat our food, which means that we will have to slow down and chew more. The first time we did it, we just couldn't make it to 20 minutes, even with trying we only made it 15 minutes. The second time, we slowed down, actually TALKED between bites and took a full 20 minutes. I think sitting at the table instead of the tv helps with mindful eating. And for me, it makes dinner so much more enjoyable...I can be eating something I might normally not be satisfied with/portion size is smaller etc., and if I eat it at the table with my hubby and talk too, it seems to satisfy me more than if I were in front of the tv.

I can't believe you have 29 people over every month! What a cleanup. ;)

07-29-2008, 07:18 PM
Hey TROO good to see you here :) Been riding around the lake this summer? Nice down there, I was in San carlos for a little job a few weeks ago.

There isn't always 29 here for the family dinner each month! It does get close though sometimes. In my immediate family of mine, my brother and my sister there are 18 counting spouses of my son and daughter and one niece. If you count the boyfriends (who almost always come) of my nieces and my ex-wife and her significant other and my ex-wife's sister that brings it to 23. We have close friends of ours that are considered "aunts and uncles" or other son's of mine ;) that bring it up a few more....then if you add my brother in law's family (the ones that he accepts;)) and of which we consider part of ours brings it up a few more. It is not uncommon for us to have over 30, but then not everyone can make every month either. No matter what we always have enough and always have a good time. As far as clean-up goes I will say Angie and I do the most because we know where everything goes...but we always have plenty of help! We need them to get out of the way usually ;)

Sometimes we go as a group to a restaurant or someone elses place, but they are here most of the time...10 out of 12 I bet.

Now back to mindful eating :D Unless I am in the middle of a great sporting event that I can't miss ;) we never have the TV on while we eat. That has always been Angie's rule...we eat as a family (of course now it's usually just me and her) at the dining room table. Her and I do read the paper in the morning while we eat breakfast.

07-30-2008, 01:02 AM
Well I thought about my dinner tonight.

Angie and I went for pizza.

We got a beer each, a small Margherita Pizza and a ceasar salad ~ we brought 1/2 the pizza home. I could have eaten the rest of the pizza easily...but I thought about it and knew I didn't need it!

In the old days I would have got my own large pepperoni (for leftovers to bring home) and no salad and at least 2 beers!

Thinking about every meal! It helps.

07-30-2008, 07:56 AM
Other mindful eating tips:

Think about where your food has come from--who has prepared it--what has gone into it. Be grateful.

Smell your food and taste it as you chew. What are the different flavors? Is it mostly salty? Is there a sweet flavor? Are the spices complex or simple? Can you identify different tastes? :drool:

Think about the textures. Is it crisp? Crunchy? Chewy? Soft? Are there bits with a different texture? Can you identify them? :chin:

Don't try to talk while you're chewing--like momma told you. Concentrate on your food. You can make that wonderful point after you've swallowed.

This one is hard for some--try to think of meals as being more like a sit-down concert of pleasant music than like a field sporting event. ;)


07-30-2008, 08:31 AM
I tried this at lunch yesterday and it was amazing how hard it was! Usually I finish lunch in about 10 minutes, then spend the rest of my lunch hour trying to convince myself I'm full. I'm going to try it again today and see what kind of difference it makes.

07-30-2008, 11:25 AM
Gary: No, we haven't ridden our bikes much this summer. We moved away from that area (to Normal Heights) and we could still go, but it is sort of a pain because now we live upstairs and would have to lug our bikes up and down the stairs. BUT....I want to get back to doing that. I'm glad you asked because I've been so busy, I forgot that we could go! :) Yes, the weather has been pretty nice except for a few really hot days. BTW, in case you were wondering where I've been, I've been around, I just have been on the Biggest Loser threads. ;)

It sounds like a very loving gathering you have.

Angie's so good about the whole eating/exercising thing, she is really a good influence on you, huh? We didn't eat at the table last night, mostly because there is stuff all over it and I need to clean it off.

Jay: I like how you said "sit-down concert of pleasant music than like a field sporting event". That's a good way to put it.

thistoo: Yeah, we don't realize how fast we gulp down our food until we actually TRY to eat slower. And if we do eat slower, it just means we have all the more time to enjoy that delicious _______ that we are eating. I think that is part of why I overeat: I enjoy what I have so much that I want to taste it longer.