Take Control – Live Mindfully

— Written By and last updated by

This month I will be talking about mindfulness when it comes to eating healthy and moving more. You may ask what does it mean to be mindful when I eat or move more? Mindful eating is being fully aware of your thoughts, feeling and actions as you eat. This will lead you to make intentional choices when you eat or choose to move more instead of being led by external cues, emotions or your environment. Mindful eating effects how you relate to food and can impact eating habits that can lead to a healthier you. Paying close attention to what you eat, when you eat, where you eat, and why you eat will in the long run give you a satiety eating experience.

Meals not only provide the nourishment our bodies need but also replenishes our mind and soul. Mindful eating will help you focus your attention on the “here and now” eating experience. Here are some simple steps to mindful eating:

  • Limit/turn off distractions: cell phones, TV, computer, newspaper, work, reading
  • Sit down at a table to eat away from distractions
  • Eat slowly and enjoy every bite
    • Put down your utensils for 10-15 seconds after each bite
    • Take sips of water after every few bites
    • Take small bites and chewing slowly
    • Finish chewing and swallowing each bite before you take another bite
    • Savor your food: think about taste, texture, smell, etc.
  • Control portion sizes-we tend to eat more when we use bigger bowls, plates, etc.
    • Choose small plates
    • Package snacks in small bags for portion-controlled snacking

Planning physical activity is being mindful when it comes to moving more. It’s not just going to happen, you need to schedule it in. Here are some options to being mindful about moving more:

  • Consider taking the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Park your car further away at the store or mall
  • Take stretch or walking breaks at work
  • Do activities during TV commercials
  • Block out time in your day for structured activity: gym, play a sport, walk, ride a bike

Mindfulness also means being aware of how long you sit and trying to reduce that amount of time you sit. Being mindful and consistent of the foods eaten and of the daily activity choices will contribute to the outcome of your health goals. For more ideas on how to incorporate mindful eating and moving more, visit the Eat Smart, Move More website.

“Training your mind to be in the present moment is the #1 key to making healthier choices.” – Susan Albers

Virginia C. Lopez is a Steps to Health Nutrition Educator and provides this information from the SNAP-Ed Steps to Health – Take Control curriculum. It is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

woman holding bowl of food