When it comes to managing your diabetes, what you eat is important ( I realize I'm not telling you anything you don't already know - yet). Believe it or not, how you eat is just as important. Mindless eating (i.e. eating while doing other things) can impact what and how much you eat. On the flipside, mindful eating (i.e. being attentive and present while you eat) can help you take charge of your diabetes.
Mindless eating can wreak havoc on your health and get in the way of managing your diabetes. Some common mindless eating habits you should ditch are:
- Eating while watching TV or playing on phone
- Eating while driving
- Cleaning your plate when you’re not hungry
- Eating while standing up
Mindful eating is all about being aware of your experiences and noticing your physical hunger and satiety cues. Some popular mindful eating habits are:
- Eating slowly and chewing your food thoroughly.
- Listening to your body’s hunger cues and eat when you feel those physical cues.
- Be present - engage all of your senses (taste, texture, smell, sight, and hearing) while you eat.
- Noticing how you feel after eating certain foods or meals.
Mindful Eating & Diabetes
Believe it or not, the incidence of diabetes can be reduced by almost 60% with mindfulness-focused lifestyle interventions.
In this study, adults with type 2 diabetes were given a mindful eating intervention that was modified for diabetes self-management. In addition to basic nutrition information, they were educated on things like mindful meditation, mindful eating, and awareness of hunger and satiety cues. Three months later, the participants reported weight loss, cognitive control over eating, enhanced self-confidence, decreased overeating, and less eating beyond satiety. Long story short, these findings demonstrate that training in “mindful eating” can help manage diabetes and encourage healthy eating habits.
Another study found that incorporating mindfulness into a diet-exercise program may promote long-term improvement metabolic health and obesity. Engaging in mindful eating may contribute to long-term decreases in eating of sweets and fasting glucose.
How to Eat Mindfully
Below are 4 steps you can take to get started with mindful eating.
- Don’t wait until you’re starving to sit down and have a meal. If you wait to eat until you’re ravenous, you’ll find yourself eating more food faster, and not stopping when you’re full.
- Appreciate the eating experience. Taking a moment to appreciate and express your gratitude towards the food you’re eating and who you’re eating it can bring a lot of enjoyment to the table.
- Chew your food thoroughly and slowly. Taking the time to chew your food thoroughly and slowly is good for digestion and can enhance the flavor of food by releasing more flavor.
Engage your senses. While you’re cooking and eating your food, take note of the flavors, colors, textures, smells and sounds that are associated with the different foods.
The next meal you eat after reading this would be the perfect time to try it out. Already a mindful eater? See if you can take it to the next level by really slowing down and savoring!