Are you actually hungry? How often do you ask yourself that question before putting food into your mouth?
Many of us eat because the clock tells us to, with little or no thought as to whether we are actually really hungry. Most people eat when they are feeling emotional, be they positive or negative emotions. Some of us eat mindlessly when we are bored and lacking in mental stimulation. Which of these rings true for you?
If you always eat lunch at 12 and dinner at 7, try a few days of asking yourself if you are truly hungry when the time comes. Ask the question, then pause and wait for the answer. Use your intuition and tune into the feeling in your stomach as much as possible. Maybe you are a little hungry but by delaying your meal for an hour you will have more of an appetite and enjoy your food even more.
Emotional eating often stems from a hunger for love and comfort. It may seem like a packet of biscuits will solve all your problems and make you feel better but try and think ahead to how you might feel an hour later. The emotions you were experiencing that prompted the biscuit binge are very likely to be still around, and you can probably add in guilt too. Instead, perhaps try something soothing like a cup of herbal tea, hot bath, or spending some time with friends.
If mindless eating, whether at work or watching TV in the evening, is your downfall there are a couple of possible solutions to try. Firstly, pay attention to how you are really feeling and use your intuition to decide if hunger or boredom is at play. If you know that you are not actually hungry, just bored and lacking in mental stimulation, then distraction can work wonders. Get away from your desk for a few minutes and have a chat with a work colleague, turn off the TV and call a friend, or even better, get outside for some fresh air and exercise.
Mindful eating is a powerful way of living. It takes time to learn how to listen to our body and trust in what it is telling us, but the success and happiness it can bring is well worth the time.