When was the last time you’ve sat down and really enjoyed your meal? With life stressors constantly urging us to make the next move, it’s hard for us to sit down, breathe and recognize small moments within our lives. When somebody asks what you had for breakfast, normally you have to sit there and think hard, questioning yourself saying, “wait what did I have?” Well, it’s time to take a break from that and practice mindful eating.

Mindful eating is maintaining an awareness of the foods and drinks you put into your body. Food gives us the nutrients and energy our bodies need to survive, so take a moment to admire what you’re eating and have some self-compassion. Mindful eating can reduce weight gain and help you lose weight. There are many ways to practice mindful eating, here are a few things you can do the next time you sit down to have a meal.

  1. Listen to your body

Stop and listen to what your body is saying. Are you full? Could you have a few more bites? A popular problem people face when dealing with weight gain stems from overeating. If you take your time while eating, you can feel when your body is telling you to stop. This will also avoid that stuffed feeling you get after you overeat. This tip allows you to find the perfect balance of being full and still light on your feet.

  1. Just eat!

Often, we are known for doing too many things at once. We are constantly multitasking and thinking of the next thing we have to do. When you sit down to have a meal, just eat. Don’t use your phone, don’t watch TV, don’t do extra work. If you sit and enjoy your meal, you will feel relaxed and have an easier time listening to your body. It’s easy to sit in front of a screen and get distracted. That bag of chips you were eating? Sadly, that bag is now empty. Now, this doesn’t mean not eating with others. Eating at a set place with others is actually a mindful eating technique. Here you are relaxing and enjoying your food, as well as spending quality time with others.

  1. Connect deeply with your food

You will be pleasantly surprised when you take the next bite out of your meal and mindfully eat. Ask yourself, where did this come from? How does it make me feel? How do the flavors mix inside of my mouth? When you analyze these questions, you begin to recognize the hard work that went into creating the meal. You start to experience a sense of gratitude and feel thankful for what you have in front of you. Not only that, but you can indulge in the flavors and truly appreciate your meal.

How do I deeply connect with my food? The weight loss doctors say, begin with the visuals. Make your pallet colorful, put your food on a nice plate, put your water in a wine glass. Make eating a special occasion. There are many ways to mindful eating. The next time you go to the grocery store, pick out a fruit or vegetable that you’ve never tried, look at the color, the shape and get a feel for it. When you eat it, notice the texture and taste in your mouth, recognize if the flavor changes over time. It’s important to take our time to visualize and feel what we are putting into our bodies. So, the next time you sit down, take a moment, breathe and examine what’s in front of you.