Be a mindful eater to keep slim

Concentrating on your meals as you eat them could be the secret of managing your weight. Research by Harvard University showed that dieters lost an average of half a stone, when they focussed on their food rather than what was going on around them.

Eating without being distracted and concentrating completely on the food is said to help us stay in shape, as ‘mindful eating’ ensures that we are able to tune in with the body to enable us to hear when we are actually full.

The Buddhist principle of focusing on the present inspired the term mindful eating. Mindful eating has been said to help binge eaters cut their number of bingers from eight a fortnight to three, keeping them more under control.

Researchers say that it takes about 20 minutes for the brain to register that the body is full, as digestion involves a complex series of hormonal signals between the nervous system and gut. Therefore, the signals will lag behind if people guzzle their food down too quickly, which can lead to over-eating.

A recent study by Bristol University concluded that eating at your desk could also make you put on weight as distractions such as checking email, playing computer games or reading websites make it harder for us to remember what we have eaten and stops us from feeling full. It is thought that a key role of dampening our appetite is remembering what we have eaten.

People are advised by the Kallo Food Academy, an online healthy eating forum, to savour their food and chew it slowly.

Kallo spokesperson, Elaine Underwood said “Simple measures such as moving away from the computer for a few minutes at lunchtime, or finding some time to eat out without being distracted by newspapers or TV will allow people to enjoy their food more by noticing the texture and flavours they’re eating”.

If you’re eating out in a restaurant, you could try ordering your starter before the main meal to see how hungry you actually are, after you’ve had the starter. You could also wait for a bit before ordering a dessert so your body can tell you if it’s full. Many restaurants will have 2 for 1 offers or deals to get more people eating out as it can help cover their cost of supplies, energy, restaurant insurance and hiring staff, but don’t let them tempt you into ordering more than you can eat!

Not only may eating slower help you to enjoy your food more, it could also help you lose weight.

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