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Cultivating Mindful Eating Habits for Craving Control

We all experience food cravings from time to time. That sudden urge for something sweet after a meal or the constant nagging for salty snacks while watching TV. Giving in to these cravings can derail healthy eating goals. The key is learning how to manage cravings through mindful eating techniques.

What is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating means paying full attention to the eating experience – the tastes, smells, textures, and visual appeal of food. It means eating slowly, without distraction, and being fully present. This allows you to tune into physical hunger cues and empowers you to make conscious food choices.

Here are some mindful eating habits you can cultivate to take control over cravings:

Assess Your Hunger

Check in with your body before eating. Rate your hunger on a scale of 1-10. If you’re not truly hungry, the craving may be emotionally driven. Distract yourself with a short walk or hydrating with water.

Savor Each Bite

Instead of rushing through meals, take the time to thoroughly chew and taste each bite. Appreciate the flavors and textures. This satisfaction from mindful eating can eliminate the desire to overindulge.

Eliminate Distractions

Avoid eating while working, watching TV, or browsing on your phone. Make meals device-free zones to fully focus on food. The distraction of screens can lead to mindless overeating.

Opt for Healthy Substitutions

When a craving strikes, opt for a healthier version to satisfy your urge. For a sweet craving, try Greek yogurt topped with berries instead of candy. For salty cravings, grab a handful of roasted chickpeas versus potato chips.

Portion Control

Be mindful of portion sizes. Dish out proper servings onto a plate rather than eating straight from the package. It takes your brain about 20 minutes to register fullness – eating mindfully allows you to recognize it sooner.

Make Mindful Eating a Habit

Like any habit, mindful eating takes practice but it quickly becomes second nature. Set reminders to eat slowly and turn mealtimes into mini-meditations. Staying present when eating will help regulate cravings, improve your relationship with food, and lead to better health.

The next time you feel an urgent craving, take a pause. Check in with your body, assess your true hunger, and make a conscious decision on how to satisfy it. Mindful eating gives you  control over food urges by heightening your awareness. With practice, it can be a simple but powerful way to rein in cravings.

Need help with mindfulness techniques? Let’s strategize.

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  1. Kimberly W on January 27, 2024 at 4:44 pm

    When I make it a point to be mindful while eating I like to focus on chewing. Sometimes I count the number of chews, others I just focus on the sensations and flavors as I chew and chew. It’s an interesting experience and it takes a while so I don’t overeat because I’ve often his that 20 minute mark and I realize that I’m satisfied.

    • Karen Admin on January 27, 2024 at 8:20 pm

      Great work Kimberly. IT does take the brain 20 minutes to realize the stomach has been fed. The longer you take to eat, the less you are likely to overeat.

  2. Kebba Buckley Button on January 27, 2024 at 7:02 pm

    Karen, I’m following all your guidelines. I find tea and a handful of organic “baby carrots” will get me through my mid-afternoon slowdown. For meals, I usually carry my meal on a tray to where I’ll sit. So I arrange pretty portions of what I want to eat and drink on pretty dishes, on a lovely mat, inside the rimmed tray. I say grace before leaving the kitchen. Very satisfying. Do you arrange your food?

    • Karen Admin on January 27, 2024 at 8:18 pm

      I’m happy to help Kebba. I don’t arrange my food but I like to have multi-colored food and I enjoy how that looks. Good job on being mindful with your eating.

  3. Tamara on January 28, 2024 at 1:15 pm

    Excellent tips. I’ve been on a 1,230 calories budget these past two weeks. I don’t want to mess is up by giving in to a cookie craving. I’ll consciously enjoy my carrot sticks 😉

    • Karen Admin on January 28, 2024 at 3:04 pm

      Sometimes you can squirm your way out of a craving. That sounds a little crazy but you really can do it. All you do is start with holding your arms out to the side and just sort of shimmy. Move your shoulders and wiggle around in your chair. Getting that energy moving through your body can be all you need to dissipate the craving. Don’t give into it. You can do it!

      I would also make sure 1,230 calories is enough to keep you strong and healthy. I would focus more on the quality of the calories than the number. Just my unsolicited two cents.

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