In my house, we have an expression for those times that you’ve eaten too much. We call it “gilding the lily.” You had it in hand. You enjoyed a delicious meal and you were delightfully satisfied, but the good food was just too tempting. You had one more piece of pizza, one more glass of wine, or you kept shaving off the edge of the cake to make it even!! Before you know what hit you, you feel bloated and probably a little guilty.
Other scenarios might include eating in front of the TV and not paying attention to the volume of food you were scarfing down. Or you were brought up to clean your plate, and you served yourself a lot more than you stomach could comfortably hold.
How can we better listen to our bodies? It’s ingeniously equipped with sensors that alert our brains when we’ve had enough food. How can we tune back into those natural cues?
Your best bet is mindful eating. You may have heard of the term. It means to stop multi-tasking and to pay attention to what you’re eating. Don’t rush through a meal or even a snack. Sit down at the table. Turn off the TV, the cell phone, put down the paper.
Savor the food. Don’t eat out of the container of leftovers. Put it on a SMALL plate (more on that in an upcoming post). Pour yourself some water, grab a napkin and a fork and make it a welcome ritual. Think of it as a time out to enjoy a sensory experience. Chew each bite thoroughly. Some experts recommend we chew each mouthful 40 times if you’re trying to lose weight. Notice the flavors and textures, and enjoy them!
Practice these things when you’re eating alone, so that when you’re eating with a group, you’ve already created that groove in your brain that will help mindful eating kick in. Avoid gilding the lily. And remember, there’s always the next meal.