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Becoming more aware of your eating habits with mindful eating

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - It's happened to just about everyone.

"Ok, you get the burger and fries.  You are riding home.  The fries are ice cold, greasy, but you are still eating them.  Why?  Because, you know they are in the bag and you just keep reaching in the bag and eating them," said Humility of Mary Health Partners dietitian Bridget Lackey.

In a world where multi-tasking is the norm, it's easy to get wrapped up into other things besides just what we're eating.  However, Lackey says we must make that the sole focus at mealtime.  We must be present in the moment of eating.

"Enjoy the calories and the food that you are consuming, not just have it be another task I am doing in addition to something else," said Lackey.

For most of us, 50% to 60% of our calories are consumed for emotional reasons, not because we're hungry.  Lackey says it is important to be mindful of why you're eating what you're eating.  She suggests asking yourself the following questions before you sit down to eat:

Why am I eating?
Am I hungry?
Is the food a reward?
Am I eating because I am stressed?
Am I eating because I am bored?

"It can make a big impact, again, because you are just aware of it and looking more at what's behind it, why you're eating.  And, if it does relate back to that 50% or 60% of what we eat is for non- hunger, than that can make a big impact," said Lackey.

If you wish to be more mindful when you're eating, Lackey suggests start by putting all of your focus into one food or one meal a day and build off of it.

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