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You may have heard the term “mindful eating” which means eating with intention, avoiding mindless calorie intake during boredom, stress, or socialization. The concept of mindful eating can be very beneficial for weight loss, however, it can be difficult to define and measure. A general rule of thumb to follow is to listen to your body and eat consciously. Eating consciously means eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are 80% full.
It is easier said than done sometimes but when we eat consciously, we avoid eating out of boredom, stress or social pressure. Also, it is best to provide focus on your food instead of allocating attention to a book or movie since many tend to overeat while their minds are occupied by something else. If you’re not one who is interested in counting calories, you can measure your mindful eating with the “Seven Scales of Hunger” below. Remaining around level four is most beneficial for weight loss but you do have to keep one thing in mind. It takes a bit of time for your stomach to signal to your brain that it is satisfied, so if you finish eating when you feel more like a three and a half, the four should naturally follow around 20 minutes later.
Seven Scales of Hunger
7. About to burst: Ate way too much food but it was fun! Same feeling you may experience after Thanksgiving dinner or a birthday party and you think you may never want to see food again.
6. Extremely full: Feeling some discomfort/bloat and need to lie down.
5. Pretty full: Had a few extra bites after being satiated and won’t need to eat again for some time.
4. Comfortably satisfied: Ate for full and not for sport; stopped when 80% full (this is easiest to attain when you eat slowly so your brain has time to signal to your stomach).
3. A tad bit uncomfortable: Didn’t eat quite enough (around 70% full) and feel a snack (or more) is needed in the near future.
2. Uncomfortable: May have the “growling” sensation in the stomach and or experience low energy.
1. Miserable: Extremely low on energy, unable to focus on tasks, and possibly irritable.
Just remember that one of the primary ways to lose the pounds is to keep portions and caloric intake in proper range. If you are opposed to counting calories and/or weighing food, the practice of mindful eating can take the place of calorie counting if done properly. Another helpful tactic is to choose foods that are already naturally low in calories, carbohydrates, and sugar since a nutrition regimen that consists of those foods will automatically result in lower caloric intake. To take all of the guesswork out of the foods you should be choosing for your weight loss regimen, check out our one- two- and four-week meal plans here!