It was Valentine’s Day recently and I fell for the hype and went out for a meal with my husband. I love eating out; amazing food, glass of wine and no washing up.

We love to go to a gastro pub in the area which serves the most well cooked fresh food that is a bit pricey but worth it. In my younger days I would have totally scoffed at a place like this. Why? The portions are small. As the portion is smaller I know I have to savour it more and therefore I eat slowly and realise I am full. Eating out previously often meant huge portions, often all you can eat buffets, a pudding and going home so full I couldn’t sleep I was that stuffed. I would be eating mindlessly and not actually stopping to think.

It’s believed it actually takes 20 minutes for the brain to register that the stomach is full. Eating a huge meal in 10 minutes flat doesn’t even give your brain chance to register you have picked up your fork, let alone sense satiety.

This leads me on to the concept of mindful eating. Mindfullness is quite a hot topic at present. This is where you focus on your emotions, thoughts and sensations in the body at a given time; basically being in the moment.  This can be applied to eating; you should be focusing on the taste of the food, the textures, sensations in your mouth and whilst doing this eating slowly, being aware of your stomach and how full you are. Nowadays, less families eat a meal at the table where digesting their day can be done as well as their meal! More of us eat whilst multi-tasking; chatting online or watching television. This can take the focus and enjoyment away from food. It is also a lot easier to eat faster and eat more when not really paying attention to what you are eating. This in turn can have a negative effect on your weight and ultimately your health.

So look at your portion sizes. Try and decrease them a bit. Look to the packet for recommended portion sizes and weigh them out. Eat more slowly and taste the food, the flavours and savour the textures. Put your spoon down between bites and rest. Let your stomach know when it is getting full. If you can eat at the table do so, put your phone down and try and turn off the television.

Don’t scoff at the small portions you may get in certain restaurants. They may actually be onto something!!