Look Both Ways
Don’t you look both ways before you cross the street — or shouldn’t you? That’s called being mindful of your surroundings and potential problems – like a car or bike speeding toward you.
Check In With Yourself
The same thing is true with eating: check in with yourself and ask if you’re really hungry. Is your stomach growling and your blood sugar low? Or is it the wafting smell of the freshly baked bread coming from the open door of a bakery or the sight of just out of the oven chocolate chip cookies that creates an irresistable urge to eat – even if you’ve just had a good sized and satisfying lunch.
There’s the rub: in situations like that you are eating in response to external cues (what you see, hear, smell, or even think) rather than checking in with your body and determining if you are actually hungry.
It’s called mindful eating for good reason: you are being mindful, or thoughtful, about whether you really need or want to eat versus eating because your emotions are sending you “feed me” messages. You know, the kind of messages that make you scarf down the mini snickers bars and the Reese’s peanut butter cups (and then some) from your kids’ Halloween candy or propel you to taste (big serving size tastes, of course) of all three pies Aunt Mary had for Thanksgiving.
Make Your Decision
Try to let your body talk to you – and then listen to it. There will always be occasions — certain celebrations come to mind — when it may be important or the right thing to do to eat a piece of cake or a cookie or an ice cream cone.
Before the food starts its path to your mouth, stop and ask yourself if you are really hungry or if you have head hunger — the urge rather than the need to eat because your emotions and external cues are telling you that you should. Answer the question and proceed accordingly.