02/11/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Using Mindful Eating to Get Back on Track in 2009

Most of us know exactly how Oprah feels. It's upsetting to regain the weight you've worked so hard to lose. If you had a tough year, you may not have even realized that you gained weight before it was too late. You ask yourself, "What happened?" If you are like most people, it's easy to fall back into "autopilot eating" during times of stress. "Autopilot eating" is unconsciously engaging in routine eating habits. These eating habits aren't necessarily healthy, but they don't require much effort and are comfortable due to their familiarity.

Learning the art of mindful eating can prevent you from going back into your default eating mode. Mindful eating is not a diet. There are no menus. It is about learning how to be more aware of what you eat.

Here are some suggestions for avoiding mindless autopilot eating in 2009:

* Avoid Multitasking While You Eat.
It's fine to have a snack. But, when you eat, just eat. Stop typing. Put down the newspaper. You will be much more in tune with how much you eat if you give eating your full and undivided attention.
* Be Mindful of Mediocre Food.
Approach food like you do a dessert buffet. Closely and carefully thinking about what you would really enjoy. If it is just a roll versus a gourmet, hot piece of bread, is it really worth it? * Eat with your Stomach not your Eyes.
You often decide whether you will like a food by what it looks like. Be sure let your tongue be the judge. When you take a bite, consider whether you are eating it simply because it looks good or it will satisfy your hunger.
* Leave Proof of what you Eat.
It's easy to forget that you've just had a snack three hours ago until you spy a candy wrapper sitting on your desk. Don't throw away the chip bag when it is empty. Keeping the evidence will help you be more aware of how much you are consuming.
* Make a Mindful Environment.
It's easy to mindlessly graze on food sitting right in front of you. But, if you don't see it, you have to think carefully about what you want to eat. Keep unhealthy foods in hard to reach places and healthy foods in convenient locations.
* Mindfully Eat Green.
Mindlessly eating doesn't just affect you; it impacts the entire world. Many natural resources go into raising the beef for an extra cheeseburger. When you eat, think about the global impact. Use the same motivation you have to turn off the lights to save energy for passing up an extra helping. It's making a healthier you and helping the environment.

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