Superportions and calorie dishes in restaurants are often blamed for a significant contribution to the worldwide obesity epidemic – and it’s not in vain. People gain weight faster if they eat much and quickly. Of course, they do not eat so quickly and in such quantities at home.
Why Do You Eat More Than You Need?
Well, what’s so bad in 200-300 extra calories a couple of times a week? If you think so, you are wrong. Because if you put these calories together and “multiply” them by lack of exercise, add the time spent watching television, you will get a couple of extra centimetres on your waist in a year.
How can we change this situation? You can certainly refuse from going to restaurants and cafes, but for most of us nothing can replace this pleasant pastime. Family gatherings, search for a boyfriend or girlfriend, romantic dates – all these are good reasons for eating out.
Mindful Eating Strategy
Taking into account everything above-mentioned, Gail Timmerman, the University of Texas professor and nutrition specialist, suggested his strategy of food consumption for those who can not do without restaurants. The strategy is called “mindful eating“. It suggests that you should eat slowly and in the meantime consider your sensations. You should focus on what you eat, the circumstances you eat in, and the feelings of hunger and satiety. The effectiveness of the strategy has been verified experimentally.
The Mindful Eating Study
The experiment involved 35 middle-aged women who attended restaurants at least 3 times a week. The women’s weight was different – from normal to pathologic obesity. Besides, 30% were keeping a diet at that time trying to lose weight, and 23% just wanted to maintain their weight. Half of the participants were randomly selected as the control group. The second half was prescribed a six-week “mindful eating” program.
How to Choose Healthier Foods in Restaurants?
The essence of the program was as follows: every week for 2 hours the women were being explained how to avoid overeating and learn to choose healthy foods in different situations. For example, it was recommended to pay attention to steamed rice in Chinese restaurants, and to black beans instead of the usual fried foods in Mexican ones. In addition, at the weekly session with the instructor the women were suggested to focus on their feelings of hunger, while they were gulping down cheese and crackers, or on the feeling of satiety when they were eating chocolate.
Study Result: Weight Loss
The women were allowed to continue eating out (or ordering food home). However, during the experiment, they lost on average 1.7 pounds, each day consuming 300 calories less (the weight and the number of calories in the control group did not change). Moreover, the “restaurant menu” had only 124 of the total number of daily calories.
What Is Mindfulness
It’s time to clarify that mindful eating appeared due to another “movement” – mindfulness – that is gaining popularity in meditation practice. It teaches concentration, awareness of your body and mind. This is a Buddhist tradition, recently popularized in the field of psychology. Today, it helps experts to successfully relieve stress and pain, treat depression and anxiety.
While Eating Concentrate On the Process of Eating Only
If we talk about food, this practice works to eliminate the trend of rapid eating – the problem typical for most people who overeat. It also helps to eliminate distractions: TV, gossip, books, viewing media content through gadgets – in other words, anything that interferes with focusing on food and only on it.
Enjoy Your Meal
The art of enjoying food is a process that modern civilization can not afford. We hurry to get all the pleasures here and now. Meanwhile, we deprive ourselves of an essential part of our lives – peace and harmony with ourselves.