Mindless calories – are you eating without being aware of it?

Have you been reflecting on your diet and thinking ‘seriously, what is the deal…? I don’t eat that bad – why can’t I lose weight or reach my fitness goals?’ You’re tracking your food, your macros is going well… so what is going on?? MINDLESS EATING – have you ever considered the amount of food you pop in your mouth without realising that you are doing it?

Eating without intention

Now, I’m not talking about sleep walking to the fridge at night – I’m talking all things ‘mumma’ that we do. I never realised I was a victim of this until I started IF (Intermittent fasting), So what is this ‘mindless eating’ I’m talking about?  **picture this:

  • Pouring the kids breakfast cereal (enter handful of nutrigrain here!)
  • Kids didn’t eat all their toast (enter bite of cold jam toast before throwing in the bin here!)
  • Kids took one bite of banana and don’t want it anymore (enter finishing banana here!)

Catching my drift? As mums, we somehow inherit this amazing gift of being the ‘leftover vacuum’ sometimes because we are hungry and we aren’t eating properly ourselves, other times because we don’t want to waste food or we are so tired we eat just to keep going – and almost 100% of the time without consciously knowing we are even eating!

Awareness of your eating habits

I’m sure you are all reviewing your day thinking about when these scenarios occur… The key to moving past these habits is absolutely #1 being aware that they are occurring and then finding a way to move forward that you’re comfortable with. I hate wasting food – it’s just something I don’t like to do, so how did I get past this without eating all the scraps myself? 

How to minimise food waste

  • Half eaten banana: Pop them in a ziplock bag in the freezer for smoothies or banana bread / muffins
  • That dreaded ONE bite out of an apple: Save them up in the fridge and make some stewed apples (apple sauce) my kids love this hot or cold with a little bit of cinnamon as a snack or you can even make muffins or scrolls for lunchbox treats.
  • Cold toast: If you don’t have chickens, a worm farm or a pet to feed scraps to, just throw it away!! A loaf of bread is not going to break the budget so skip that bite of cold jam toast – you aren’t helping anyone by eating this!

Follow these fundamental principles – If it can be salvaged and repurposed: save it, freeze it, reuse it! If it can’t offer anyone anything: chuck it away in the compost or FOGO bin if you have one and don’t feel guilty for it! For some of us, we have grown up with the principle of ‘not wasting food – eat everything on your plate’ and it can be tough to change your mindset around this. I don’t force my kids to finish their dinner, but there is no chance they are getting any dessert if they don’t eat a decent portion of their main meal first.

Are you eating mindfully?

Another ‘mind-less’ eating thing we tend to do is eating while on technology… have you ever been scrolling away on your phone and eating at the same time and before you know it all the food is gone? What happened to that delicious snack… it’s all gone without even noticing how much you were eating!? When you are on your phone, busy doing another task while getting some food down – you really aren’t appreciating your meal… you’re not being thankful for that fuel, those ingredients that make up that meal and consequently it’s gone without any enjoyment.

The best thing you can do in that moment is turn over the phone, don’t sit in front of the computer, TV or anything of the like – just be present in  the moment to be with yourself and your thoughts… let your mind be free, your taste buds enjoy the wonderful meal you have in front of you and take some time away from all the distractions just to enjoy some time for you.

You will be surprised how much extra you eat without noticing once you are looking out for it occurring within your daily routine… From breakfast prep, left over sandwich crusts at lunch, lunchbox making, to testing 10 strands of pasta, or a few extra mouthfuls at dinner prep!

Think about what is going in your mouth…. Mindful eating is the key to successful eating habits.