Easy ways to stop unconscious eating

Do you find yourself automatically reaching for the biscuits in the afternoon, or getting to the end of a bag of chips without realising? If so, you're an unconscious eater.

Snacking is a very normal part of life, but if you're not fully present in the moment, you may have the tendency to over-indulge.

Being aware of what you're putting in your body means you have greater control over what and how much food you're consuming, which keeps you on track and healthy if you're trying to make positive food choices.

Jenny Craig dietitian, Megan Alsford shares her strategies for practising mindful eating, so you can remain control of your portions and keep your healthy eating on track.

Give your food the attention it deserves

"The answer here is simple, when you’re eating, only eat," explains Megan.

"Consider this, just as distracted driving can result in traffic accidents, distracted eating can also lead to mindless overeating. Your body and mind can easily lose track of just how much you’ve eaten when distracted, so switch off the TV, put down your phone and concentrate on your meal."

Plan to leave a little

Do you ever feel like you need to finish the whole plate? The pressure to clear your plate can lead to overeating, so don't be afraid to leave some food on your plate.

"After each mouthful, consider how the food is making you feel, are you full or do you want more. Still hungry keep eating but stop when you feel full," says Megan.

Remember your senses

"Mindful eating is a sensory experience, it’s important to slow down and consider the look, aroma, textures, flavour and sounds of your food," says Megan.

She believes that understanding what you do and don’t like about your food can also result in choosing meals that satisfy your taste buds, so you can better enjoy your calories.

Trick your mind

Try eating your next main meal on a smaller plate. "Downsizing your dinnerware can make balanced servings feel more proportionate. Therefore, you consume less calories without feeling deprived," explains Megan.

Change it up

While you're playing mind games, Megan suggests trying to switch things up a bit.

"The next time you are feeling particularly starved, try eating with your non-dominant hand," she says. "Slowing down your eating can help you make more conscious decisions about your food."

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