Mmmm, pizza! You love pizza and you really want some. “NO! You can’t have pizza,” you angrily tell yourself. “Pizza is BAD for me!”

So you go to the fridge and find a bag of carrots. Sitting in front of the TV, you eat your carrots. They aren’t great, but they are “good for me” so they’ll do. However, half-hour later, you have finished the bag of carrots and still feel hungry. The pizza still sounds so wonderful but you won’t allow yourself to eat that.

So you go in search of more food. You find some lettuce in the fridge and make a salad. Salad is “good for me” so this must be what I want to eat. After polishing that off too, you are still hungry. Pizza excitement pops back up but you hurry and push that down.

You keep eating “good for me” foods but never feel satisfied. That pizza is still on your brain and it won’t stop nagging at you! You continue to go in search for something satisfying but are always still hungry… even if you’re really full.

What is happening?

You aren’t eating what you truly want and you aren’t paying attention while you eat it!

How often do you read, watch TV or talk with a friend while you’re eating? When you’re not paying attention to what you eat, you usually don’t taste it and you’re less likely to enjoy your food. So you don’t feel satisfied after you’ve eaten. If you find yourself still hungry, or wondering what else you can eat, you probably were not focused on what you were eating.

Another symptom of not tasting the food you eat and not eating what you truly want is weight gain. If you don’t feel full or satisfied, you may eat something else to take that feeling away. If you pretend to want something other than what you really want, you won’t feel satisfied.

In addition, gaining weight makes you feel bad, so to take that feeling away, you eat. It’s a double edged sword.

Focusing on what you’re eating, not doing anything else while you eat, and eating the foods you want, can stop the cycle of overeating.

Don’t listen to what society tells you (or even what I tell you). Learn for yourself with this Mindful Eating Exercise

Choose a favorite food (or, at least something you like). Before you take a bite, take a moment to look at it. Notice its texture, color, smell, size. Now, put it into your mouth, but before you begin to chew it, let it roll around on your tongue for a while. Notice what happens. Does it melt? Does it soften? Notice the flavor, the texture. Does it change?

When you are ready, begin to chew. Notice everything you can about the flavors in your mouth. Let your taste buds really appreciate the morsel you have given it.

How was that? Did you enjoy it more than if you had just chewed a couple of times and swallowed? Do you feel more satisfied?

Eat more if you want.

You don’t need to eat everything this slowly. However, if you practice this often, you will start to have a new experience with food. I’ll bet you will enjoy food more and will feel more satisfied. Thus, you’ll eat less.

Eat what you want; enjoy it fully; eat less and lose weight. It does work. And, it’s more fun!