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mindless eater

I’ve heard my mother-in-law talk about washing day at her house when she was growing up. Every Tuesday was devoted to washing clothes for her family of eight. In fact, there were so many clothes to wash that her aunt would often come down to pitch in because she only had two kids and fewer clothes.

Years ago, it was OK to devote a whole day to a singular task. However today, though life should theoretically be easier and less complicated, it seems like we are busier and more distracted than ever!

In this fast-paced world it seems like we’ve learned to do more and more on auto-pilot? Every day companies come up with new gadgets and gizmos to make our life just a little easier. Unfortunately, all this convenience has trained us to think that we must always have to do several things at one time. Has the compulsion to multi-task turned you into a mindless eaters?

Mindless Eater

Mealtime has experienced a significant shift in the last several decades. For many, it is no longer the event it once was. How many times do you find yourself grabbing something on the go as you rush to your next task? Or, do you often munch on a snack while you are working on another project?

Multi-tasking has produced a generation of mindless eaters. How about you? Take a minute to jot down exactly what you ate yesterday (or today, if you are reading this post in the evening). Were you able to do it?

Now, let’s go a step further…write down the exact amount you had of each of the various items on your list.

If you successfully completed this little test; congratulations you are mindful of the food you put into your body. However, if you had trouble remembering exactly what you ate, you can still take comfort in knowing you are not alone.

How Did I Teach Myself To Become More Mindful?

I used to be a mindless eater. The interesting thing is, I would often eat mindfully at meal time, but I would blow my daily calorie intake by nibbling on snacks and eating multiple sweet desserts throughout the rest of the day.

mindless eater

I finally learned to develop small habits to become more mindful of the foods I eat and the amounts I actually consume.  Researchers at Cornell University actually developed the National Mindless Eating Challenge to try to figure out if individualized small habits really make a difference for mindless eaters.

Cornell University researchers launched the National Mindless Eating Challenge (NMEC), an online healthy eating and weight loss program which focused on simple eating behavior changes, instead of dieting.

Upon signing up for the NMEC, participants were asked a series of questions about their eating goals, background, and well-being. Based on their answers, they were sent three customized tips to follow for a month.

Source: Beating Your Mindless Eating Habits

Tips To Break The Mindless Eating Habit

Here are the tips that participants found most helpful.

·         Keep counters clear of all foods but the healthy ones

·         Never eat directly from a package – always portion food out onto a dish

·         Eat something hot for breakfast within the first hour of waking up

·         Avoid going more than 3-4 hours without having something small to eat

·         Put down your utensils between bites to slow down your eating

Source: same as above

Never eating directly from the package and eating every 3-4 hours are two habits I have found extremely helpful.

Try To Be More Mindful This Week

Isolate your eating to a single activity instead of eating on the run. Not only will you be more aware of the quantity of food you consume, but you will also be freed up to listen to your body. When you feel satisfied, stop eating even if there is still food left over.

Test yourself at the end of each day to see if you can accurately list the foods and the quantities you consumed. This small step can save you from consuming hundreds of mindless calories.

If the idea of developing more mindful eating habits rings a bell with you, then check out my book, Find Your Weigh. 

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Learning It (2)






  1. Helen says:

    Excellent advice and I intend to use it! Thanks.

  2. Puneet Kumar says:

    I am a writer and a blogger – while looking here and there I came on your site and it is really nice to read this and i like to say that Indeed eating habit involves many other works such as watching TV or read books etc. Your suggestion – “Isolate your eating to a single activity instead of eating in a run” – is very important suggestion. Good reminder Shelli!

  3. Donna Parker says:

    Sorry, I was too busy eating to type for a moment. lol 😉 Great post, dropped over from Elena’s #BlogShareLearn and so glad I did. 🙂
    Hope this weekend treats you kindly. 🙂

  4. Rosemond says:

    I”m so a mindless snacker, I’m good at meals, but those crackers and crunchies that I grab out of the bag totally add up!

    • Shellie Bowdoin says:

      Hi Rosemond, I used to be the worst with grabbing little sweets here and there throughout the day!

  5. Sara says:

    Hi, Shellie. As I am reading this, I’m munching on some saltines which is my habit while reading and commenting on blogs. ^_^ Not very mindful huh?

    I am an extremely unmindful eater. I’ve not heard of the Mindful eating challenge, but I know there was a trend a few years back on being ‘mindful’ about eating. As I googled this concept I found a site by an author of a book on this topic. He has some great resources like a checklist for those who want to make small changes.

    • Shellie Bowdoin says:

      Hi Sara, yes there is some great stuff out there on mindfulness. I am also in the final stages of my first book, which explains how I finally established new mindful eating habits.

      • sara says:

        That’s good. When do you expect your first draft to be done? I’ll definitely follow along with your book writing process.

        • Shellie Bowdoin says:

          Actually, it’s about to go to print at this point,but I do so appreciate your offer!

  6. I admit – I have the terrible habit of eating & watching TV – pretty mindless! Good reminder, Shellie!