Magic of mind­ful eat­ing

It’s not just about what we eat but how we eat

Owner Driver - - Diabetes Nsw & Act - Katie Al­li­son

AUS­TRALIAN truck driv­ers face long hours on the road, and be­ing un­der pres­sure to meet client sched­ules of­ten re­sults in driv­ers eat­ing on the go rather than stop­ping to have a break and a rest at meal­times. How­ever, eat­ing while driv­ing makes it much harder to man­age your health and weight – this is be­cause you are eat­ing mind­lessly.

Mind­less eat­ing refers to eat­ing when you’re dis­tracted; it gen­er­ally means you don’t truly en­joy your food or even re­ally regis­ter what you eat. Mind­less eat­ing can also lead you to eat more at one sit­ting be­cause it takes 20 min­utes af­ter you start eat­ing to send the mes­sage to your brain to say, “You’re good, you’re done, you’re full”. If you are dis­tracted, you can eas­ily overdo your in­take in that 20-minute time­frame.

Not only are you likely to eat more at one sit­ting if you eat mind­lessly but you are also more likely to eat more over the rest of the day.

This is be­cause if you are eat­ing while dis­tracted, you are less likely to process or even re­mem­ber that you ate. As a re­sult, you may end up eat­ing sooner or not com­pen­sat­ing for the ex­tra kilo­joules (or calo­ries) you’ve con­sumed.

If you are eat­ing mind­lessly, it is time to turn the tables and start eat­ing mind­fully to en­joy some of the ben­e­fits of healthy eat­ing. The fol­low­ing tips will help you eat more mind­fully.

DON’T MULTITASK

Get out of the cab and take time to sit down and eat your meal or snack with no dis­trac­tions. You may need to plan your trip ahead of time to fac­tor this in. Guar­an­teed, it is worth it. Truck stops and rest stops can be good op­por­tu­ni­ties.

SWITCH ON ALL YOUR SENSES

To re­ally be mind­ful of your meal, you need to turn on all your senses. En­joy the taste, the tex­ture, the smell and the over­all ex­pe­ri­ence of eat­ing that meal.

EAT SLOWLY

Don’t for­get to eat slowly and chew your food well. This will not only help you to en­joy your meal, it also en­sures you will get a more re­al­is­tic sig­nal to tell you when you are full.

AVOID LARGE PACK­ETS

Eat from plates or por­tioned-out food rather than di­rectly from a packet. When you are on the road, there is of­ten the temp­ta­tion to grab easy-to-eat goods like pack­aged foods. Stud­ies have shown that you are more likely to eat more if you are eat­ing di­rectly from large pack­ets, bowls or even us­ing larger cut­lery.

This is also the case for drinks from larger cups or glasses. Large pack­ets can of­fer more value for money, so if you do buy a larger con­tainer, pre­por­tion your food to help en­sure you don’t overdo it.

LIS­TEN TO YOUR BODY

It is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber to lis­ten to your body and recog­nise when you are gen­uinely hun­gry or when you are eat­ing for other rea­sons.

If you sus­pect your eat­ing is trig­gered by times when you are tired, stressed, anx­ious or even bored, it may be worth cre­at­ing your own ‘food and mood’ diary for a few days.

Of­ten the foods we choose at emo­tional times can be com­fort foods or those higher in fat and added sugar.

When cre­at­ing a food and mood diary, think about what you are eat­ing, rough amounts, the tim­ing, your hunger lev­els and how you feel.

If in­deed you start to see a pat­tern be­tween your food in­take and your mood, it is worth ex­plor­ing the un­der­ly­ing cause and more ef­fec­tive op­tions.

The fol­low­ing re­source is a great place to start: www.di­a­betesnsw.com.au/ wp-con­tent/up­loads/2014/12/DA-49-Foodand-eat­ing.pdf – or, al­ter­na­tively, talk to your doc­tor or health pro­fes­sional team.

MIND­FUL­NESS CHAL­LENGE

Think you are ready to be mind­ful? Take the mind­ful­ness chal­lenge:

1. Take some food, for ex­am­ple a straw­berry, and place it in the palm of your hand

2. No­tice the shape and colour of the food or even how the light falls on it

3. Think about the tex­ture of the food

4. How heavy does it feel?

5. Smell the food. How does it make you feel? Is your mouth wa­ter­ing? Is your stom­ach grum­bling?

6. Take a bite of the food. Do not chew or swal­low just yet. Feel the tex­ture of the food in your mouth. No­tice the flavours on your tongue

7. Savour the flavours on your tongue for 30 sec­onds be­fore chew­ing and swal­low­ing

8. Once fin­ished, think about the lin­ger­ing flavours from the food and how you are feel­ing.

“Of­ten the foods we choose at emo­tional times can be com­fort foods.”

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