What Mindful Eating is and how it can help you lose weight

Jamie Reygle has been practicing mindful eating for nearly 20 years

FLOYD, Va. – We're more than a month into the new year and maybe you're still working on that new you.

While the latest and greatest diets often make headlines, one is as basic as it comes and it's growing in popularity.

It's called mindful eating and it's as simple as slowing down to smell your food.

Making a grocery list, checking it twice, and counting calories is usually the start to most diets.

However, mindful eating begins when you stop, put your phone down or turn the TV off and pay attention.

“You have to slow down to be able to do this,” explained Jamie Reygle, executive director of Instill Mindfulness of Southwest Virginia.

Reygle has been practicing mindful eating for nearly 20 years.

We met him in his hometown at the Floyd Country Store to learn more.

“Like anything with mindfulness, it’s eating with awareness. So it’s being present with your food as you eat it,” Reygle said.

Reygle teaches others to be present in all areas of life, including at the table.

“We just grab something and eat it. It's the whole idea of the take-out movement. It's the whole idea of fast food. It's just grab it and eat it and not really experience and appreciate it,” said Reygle.

Reygle walked us through each step of mindful eating with a pack of crackers.

First, we feel it in our hands and describe the texture and size of the cracker.

Then, we move on to smelling the food.

“They say take time to smell the roses, take time to taste the food,” said Brooke Adams, a registered dietitian at the Salem VA Medical Center.

Above: Lindsey shares two other tips she learned when it comes to mindful eating.

She agrees with Reygle that it’s time to pay attention at the table.

“How things taste in your mouth, how they feel. It makes you kind of appreciate what you’re eating instead of just eating so quickly,” Adams said.

There's nothing quick about mindful eating with Reygle.

“Now I'm going to invite you to take just one little bite and just break it off. Notice the experience of breaking it off. and then move it around in your mouth a little before you actually try it and then when you're ready just swallow it,” Reygle said.

We're several minutes in and I’ve taken just one bite of the small cracker.

I'll admit there can be a bit of uncomfortableness to this method of eating.

Adams explains scientifically why it's so important to slow down.

“You have a hormone in your body - you have one that signals that you're hungry and that's called ghrelin. You have another one called leptin and that tells your body that you're full, so you've got to give your body time for that hormone to be released and for your brain to say hold on I'm full,” Adams said.

You never get that, ‘oh, I wish I hadn't eaten the whole thing’ feeling, because your body is communicating.

“You’re hearing it when it’s telling you that’s enough,” Reygle said.

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