The key to eating better is to ENJOY what you eat. In fact, new research shows that when you take the time to savor every bite of food that goes in your mouth, you’ll feel less stressed.  And people who are less stressed tend to make healthier food choices! So, how can you become a more mindful eater?

Try these tips from life coach Martha Beck:

First, before you take a single bite: Take five deep breaths. Because slow, deep breathing is a proven way to lower stress – since it switches your body and brain into “relax” mode.

Also: Give thanks. Believe it or not, brain studies show that when you’re stressed out, the part of your brain that feels “gratitude” can’t function.  But it works the other way, too. Meaning if your brain’s focused on feeling grateful, then stress can’t get in!

The 3rd way to be a more mindful eater: Adopt the attitude that all food is GOOD food. For example, even if you’re about to dig into a calorie bomb, Beck says replace words like “I shouldn’t eat this” with “I choose to eat this.” Why? She says that when your brain associates eating with negative thinking, then you feel more stress.  And like it or not, your body’s wired to react to stress by storing as much food as possible as fat.

That’s why people under stress tend to go on unhealthy eating binges! However, when you always treat eating as a positive experience, then Beck says two things will happen: First, you’ll slow down and savor every bite more.  Then, as you eat more slowly, research shows that you’ll automatically eat LESS - because your stomach has more time to send those “I’m full” signals to your brain.