A few weeks ago I suffered a terrible cold. I ran through tissue after tissue with no relief. I’m not here to tell you all the lovely details, but interestingly enough, the inconvenient icky-ness confirmed some truths about the food experience that I’d like to share.
If this had happened to me before, I had not noticed or do not remember. This cold made itself at home in my head and I couldn’t taste a thing! Oh my goodness, it was frustrating. To bite into one of my favorite meals of the day, breakfast, and not taste the oaty-ness of the oatmeal, the subtle sweetness of banana, or the nice vanilla touch of yogurt was terrible! Oh, and the usual punch and complexity of flavor in our sweet potato taco pockets for dinner, not to be found…travesty!
All of this to say that I became very in-tune to my hunger and fullness cues. When the joy of flavor was gone, I could rely only on my actual fullness to lead me to call it quits at a meal. It became very lucid that I often (mostly at dinner) ate beyond my fullness “satisfied” cue. I served my plate and finished to the end, usually, but without the temptation of taste, I was led to stop short of an empty plate. Although I will always prefer to taste my food, it was a great reminder that I need to remember to listen to my body when it says, “I’m full.”
Pushing your hunger and fullness cues to the deep dark depths of your mind is a mistake when it comes to trying to better control your intake and your calories for weight management/loss. When you can identify when you’re satisfied, but not stuffed, and you practice stopping when you are, you’d be surprised at the portion control it leads to.
4 steps to a more mindful meal:
1. Decide to take your time: decide before you dive in that you’re going to take your time. No rushing through a meal and being disappointed that it’s gone before you’re satisfied. Your decision becomes your plan.
2. Be present: turn off the television and put away your computer and phone. Since when did food and the eating experience become a hassle that gets in the way? You will have trouble tuning into your hunger-fullness cues if you’re engulfed in tech instead.
3. Put your fork down between bites: savor each bite by avoiding the distraction of your next bite. You will better taste and experience each bite if you’re not reloading your fork for the next one.
4. Let it settle: how often do we shovel in our meal and hit the road running to the next thing on our agenda? Do you remember what you had for lunch? Take a moment at the end of your meal and just be still. Be still to appreciate the flavor, to be thankful that you’re blessed to be full, and to realize the joy that experiencing food can bring.
Don’t wait for a taste stealing cold to be more mindful at your meals.