Nutrition Counseling Weight Management

Mindful Eating Talking Points

It seems that so many people are rushing around these days—working long hours and carting kids around to games, practices, competitions, etc.

Does this sound familiar: “I got so caught up in my work that I forgot to eat.”; “I had to stop at a convenience mart for food because I didn’t know I’d be out for so long.”; “I was good all day; I don’t know why I eat so much at night.”?

I hear this all too often from these busy clients. Here are some ways clients can incorporate mindful eating into their lives.

  • Consume three meals and one to two snacks per day, eating every three to four hours. This helps to curb grazing and overeating.
  • When eating, stop working, turn off the phone, and be mindful of what the food looks and tastes like.
  • Pack extra snacks so they won’t be in a bind if out longer than expected.
  • Plan ahead. Before walking into a coffee shop or convenience mart, clients should think about what they really need so they don’t make any impulsive food decisions that may cause regret later on.
  • Pay attention to hunger and fullness signals. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “starving, stomach is growling” and 10 being “overstuffed, pants are tight.” Clients should try to eat slowly and stop eating at a 7, “just satisfied,” to avoid overeating. Remember that in 20 minutes they may feel even more full. So advise them to slow down.
  • Portion out snacks; never eat out of the bag. That way they can see and remember what they’re eating.
  • Don’t eat in front of the TV, as this encourages mindless eating.
  • When having a treat, try a small, individually wrapped piece of dark chocolate. Taste it, feel it. This is their treat, so they’ll want to savor it.
  • Keep in mind that they’re human. Sometimes they’ll be rushed and eating a snack in the car or at their computer. Advise them to do this less often.
  • Avoid the office candy jar. They should take a different route around the office or look the other way. Out of sight, out of mind.
  • If they tend to get absorbed in their work, tell them to set a phone alarm at regular times as a reminder to eat. If they’re so busy that they go all day without eating, they’ll likely eat much more at night. This fact usually gets them more interested in eating more often during the day.

Good luck, and I hope your clients find these tips useful.

— Aileen Birkitt, RDN, is owner of Nutrition 4 You, LLC, located in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. She has proudly owned this business for seven years.

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