10 ways to stop overeating and start mindful eating

Mindful eating is an approach that emphasizes awareness and intentionality [1].

It encourages you to engage with your meals more thoughtfully and presently. This practice can improve overall health and a more positive relationship with food.

The essence of mindful eating lies in paying full attention to the entire eating experience. The first step is to be aware of what you eat, how you eat, and why you eat. 

Here are some fundamental principles to help you incorporate mindful eating into your life [2]:

Beware of hidden sugars: Sugar can lurk in unexpected places, from breakfast cereal to fruit juices. Be mindful of what you eat and watch out for foods high in sugar and low in nutrients.

Eat slowly and control portions: Eating too quickly can lead to overeating. Chewing slowly helps your body process food and can reduce calorie intake [3].

Embrace seasonal grains: Seasonal produce tastes better and is cost-effective and eco-friendly. Incorporate fresh flavors into your meals for a healthier lifestyle.

Gentle cooking methods: Avoid cooking on high flames to retain the nutrients in your food. Choosing gentler cooking methods can improve your overall wellbeing.

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Long-term weight loss: Focus on long-term, permanent weight loss rather than quick-fix fad diets. Fad diets can contribute to nutrient deficiencies and negatively impact physical and mental health [4].

Packaged fruit juices: Although packaged fruit juices might appear to be a wholesome choice, they often contain excess amounts of sugar and artificial sweeteners, with a single cup approaching the recommended daily sugar intake [5].

Plate over bag: When snacking on items like chips, popcorn or nachos, opt for a plate over a bag. This visual cue helps you monitor your consumption and prevents overeating.

Practice label reading: Reading food labels is essential for making informed choices. Pay attention to sugar, fat, and other components in food. Even “sugar-free” items can contain other harmful ingredients, so choose natural foods over processed options [6].

Small plates for significant impact: Small plates can limit overeating by giving your brain time to realize when you’re full. This simple change can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Sodium awareness: Many packaged snacks and restaurant foods are high in sodium, which can lead to health issues [7]. Limit your sodium intake to around 1500 mg daily, as health experts recommend.

By following these simple yet effective guidelines, you can make healthier choices in your daily diet. These practices promote mindful eating, portion control, and a long-term approach to weight management, all contributing to your overall health and wellbeing.

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[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5556586/
[2] https://www.newsgram.com/health/2023/09/11/10-behavioral-hacks-for-mindful-eating
[3] https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/why-eating-slowly-may-help-you-feel-full-faster-20101019605
[4] https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/weight-loss-and-fad-diets
[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4809069/
[6] https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/facts-about-sugar-and-sugar-substitutes
[7] https://www.cdc.gov/salt/index.htm

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