Halloween and the season of candy consumption it kicks off is the start of an unhealthy eating marathon for many. But we’ve got a trick that is sure to treat your body right from now through the end of the year without changing what you eat. This week, focus on how you eat, rather than what you eat. A new study shows that eating on the go, specifically while walking, causes people to overeat later in the day.
Walking on its own is great exercise and a proven stress reliever, but it’s a terrible way to eat a meal. In fact, it distracts our body’s ability to notice that we’ve even eaten, according to the research. That’s why you might feel hungry even after you’ve noshed on an energy bar (or two) on the way to work.
Sitting down for a meal is a ritual that’s quickly going out of style. Our grab-and-go culture makes it perfectly acceptable to eat meals while running errands, driving, or even in line at the post office. Even when there’s no rush, we still distract ourselves by watching TV or playing endlessly on our devices. These distractions also make food taste bland and cause us to overeat as well.
So how can you start eating more mindfully and avoid overindulging this week?
The obvious solution is just to sit down and make your meal the main event. Try this mantra: stop, drop and eat.
Turn off the TV and your devices and focus on each bite of your meal. Perhaps put on some slow, relaxing music to set the mood. It takes your stomach about 20 minutes to send a message to your brain to let it know you are full, so slow down and relax when you eat, and take a pause before reaching for seconds—after a few minutes, you probably won’t want them.
Make every meal an enjoyable experience that you can replicate every day. If you look forward to your meal, you’ll think twice the next time you decide to eat and run.