Master the Art of Mindful Eating with the Mediterranean Diet

A traditional Mediterranean style of eating engages regularly in mindful eating, something that many have completely lost track of. With mindful eating, you can manage your weight by paying attention to your internal body cues.

Yes, your own body has a very sophisticated weight management system built in that include hormones that tell you when you should eat and when to stop. The problem is that too many people often ignore that reflex. Refocus on these internal cues and become completely satisfied with what you’re eating.

Slow down with the Mediterranean lifestyle

Slowing down is a theme in the Mediterranean lifestyle that even goes for meals. A good goal is to spend at least 20 to 30 minutes eating your larger meals. This time frame gives your biological system time to let you know when you’re full. Plus, it allows you to sit and enjoy your food. Use these tips to help you slow down at meal time:

  • Set your fork down between bites to begin retraining yourself how to slow down while you eat.

  • Take a deep breath and count to ten before each bite. Don’t worry, you don’t have to do this forever, just until you’ve learned how to pace yourself.

  • Have great table discussions with your family and friends. Ask a question about everyone’s day or talk about current events.

  • Take some time to be grateful for what you have.

  • Make meal time a television-, computer-, and phone-free zone to avoid mindless eating.

Enjoy food to its fullest

When you eat, take time to enjoy every aspect of your food. When you think about Italians, Greeks, Spaniards, and other Mediterranean people, you think about cultures who love their food. They don’t wolf down their food in a few minutes. They sit around their dining tables and enjoy every aspect of the food.

This enjoyment of food helps them to manage their weights by feeling psychologically satisfied with what they’re eating, which leaves less chance for overeating.

Incorporate the following mealtime tips to help you enjoy eating to the fullest:

  • Take a deep breath. Before you dig into any food, smell the flavors coming from it. You’ve spent time creating these dishes, so let your nose enjoy them as well.

  • Act like the natives. Put yourself in the shoes of an Italian or Greek when you’re eating a meal and rave over every bite. That’s how you want to enjoy your food.

  • Taste each and every flavor. During each bite, let the food sit in your mouth. Chew it slowly and take pleasure in the freshness and the many tastes that roll across your taste buds. By slowing down and really tasting the flavors, you’ll be more satisfied than you would be eating it quickly.

    Additionally, serving lots of food in small portion sizes helps you enjoy each flavor. Adding several vegetables, sliced tomatoes, olives, salads, and protein to a meal helps you to enjoy all the different flavors and temperatures. Don’t underestimate the power of food satisfaction. Not being satisfied with what you're eating can lead to overeating relatively easily.

You can do the chocolate kiss test at home to see for yourself how luxuriating in your food makes you eat less. Take a chocolate kiss and wolf it down quickly. How did it taste? Would you be able to report to someone about the texture and flavor? Wouldn’t it be easy to pop another couple in your mouth considering how quickly that went?

Now, try again, and let the candy melt in your mouth for as long as you can. No chewing; just slowly melt it. You can see how you’re more satisfied with the flavor and need less food to get you to that psychological satisfaction level.

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