Eating more mindfully is an important step in becoming healthier, perhaps even helping you shed stubborn pounds. Below, Susan Albers, PsyD, clinical psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and author of Eating Mindfully (New Harbinger, 2012) details her 5S system, which is not only free but also portable.
“You can use these skills everywhere, whether you’re at a party, restaurant or office function,” she says.
1. Sit down.
Research shows people eat more when standing, which is why you should sit at a table. (And, no, a couch doesn’t cut it.) The table will help you pay greater attention to your food.
2. Slowly chew.
The longer you take to chew, the more you’ll taste and enjoy food. Besides, you’ll naturally slow your eating. Another way to quell quick eating? Eat with your nondominant hand, which research shows will slow you by about 30 percent.
As you eat, notice the texture, taste and smell of your food, something most people don’t do. By doing this, you’ll make wiser decisions about whether to keep eating.
4. Simplify the environment.
Research from the Cornell University Food & Brand Lab shows that creating a more mindful environment can help you eat less. For instance, because people tend to eat more in cluttered kitchens, keep your eating space clean. You’re also more likely to make healthier choices if good-for-you foods are visible, so place only healthy foods on kitchen counters and store produce at eye level in the fridge.
5. Smile between bites.
“That smile creates a gap moment, during which you can decide if you want to eat more,” Albers says.