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The word mindfulness gets tossed around a lot, especially when it comes to eating healthy and moving more. So, what does it mean to be mindful?

Being mindful is being conscious or aware of something. When we talk about mindful eating it means being fully aware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions as you eat. This will lead you to make intentional choices when you eat or choose to move more instead of being led by external cues, emotions, or your environment. Paying close attention to what you eat, when you eat, where you eat, and why you eat will in the long run give you a satisfying eating experience.

Eating meals and food not only provide the nourishment our bodies need but also replenishes our mind and our soul. Here are some simple steps to mindful eating:

  • Limit/turn off distractions: cell phones, TV, computer, newspaper, work, reading.
  • Sit down at a table to eat away from distractions.
  • Eat slowly and enjoy every bite.
  • Take sips of water after every few bites.
  • Savor your food: think about taste, texture, smell, etc.
  • Choose small plates to better control your portion size.
  • Package snacks in small bags or serve them in small bowls for portion-controlled snacking.

Planning physical activity is being mindful when it comes to moving more. It’s not just going to happen, we have to schedule it into our day or our week. Here are some options to being mindful about moving more:

  • If you are able, consider taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • If you are able, park your car in the back of the parking lot at the grocery store.
  • Take stretch or walking breaks at work.
  • Do activities such as stretching or sitting muscle-strengthening exercises during TV commercials.
  • Block out time in your day for structured activities like going to the gym, playing a sport, walking, or riding a bike.
  • Get your family or a friend involved so you have someone to keep you accountable.

Being mindful and consistent with the foods eaten and of daily activity choices will contribute to the outcome of your health goals. For more ideas on how to incorporate mindful eating and moving more, visit the Eat Smart, Move More website.