What is mindful eating?
In general, mindfulness practice involves focusing on the present moment, while calmly listening and addressing your feelings, thoughts, and body signals. Mindful eating, in particular, means being fully attentive to your food - right from what you buy to how you consume it.
Mindful eatingWhy should you eat mindfully?
Mindfulness helps you fully enjoy a meal with the experience of eating with moderation and restraint.
Engaging the senses by noticing colors, smell, sounds, texture, and flavors helps to appreciate the moment.
By truly paying attention to the food you eat, you may indulge less in unhealthy and processed foods.
Since it takes your brain up to 20 minutes to realize that you are full, if youeat too fast, the fullness signal may not arrive until you have already eaten too much.
Mindful eating needs practice, however, there are many simple ways to get started, some of which can have powerful benefits on their own:
Connect with your mind and reflect
Before you start eating, take a moment to think about how you are feeling. Are you feeling stressed or sad or bored? Are you really hungry?
Differentiate what you need Vs what the body wants. A moment of reflection helps to choose if you want to eat, what you want to eat, and how much you want to eat. Make eating an intentional act rather than being a routine.
Eat when you are hungry, not angry
Emotions have a huge influence on what you eat. Some people binge eats when they are happy while some people find comfort in food when they are upset. It is said that most of the times the emotional void is confused with hunger which leads to over-eating and is termed as emotional eating. Besides, the food you eat impacts your mood.
According to a 2011 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average American spends two-and-a-half hours a day eating, but more than half of this time, they are simultaneously working, driving, reading, watching television, or active with an electronic device. When you are multi-tasking, you’re less likely to appreciate your food. It is also difficult to keep track of your portion size when you are distracted.
Sit down and Serve out your portions
Avoid eating on the go. Have a seat. Don’t eat straight from the box or the pack. Serve yourself a desired portion first and take half of it as the second serve if you still feel hungry. When you cannot see how much food you have had, it may lead to over-eating. Moreover, it is difficult to savor your food when it is hidden from the senses. It may also be helpful to limit the size of your plate to nine inches or less.
Try to get at least 25-30 chews out of each bite and make it a habit to not pick up the next bite until you are finished chewing the first bite. Take time to enjoy the flavors and textures in your mouth before you swallow. Chewing properly helps to prevent over-eating by giving your gut enough time to send messages to the brain to say you are full. It also helps to coat the food with saliva and digestive juices which facilitates better absorption of nutrients.
Mindful eating is a tool that greatly helps to establish a connection with your food. Once you are fully aware of your eating habits, it helps eliminate food that makes you feel uncomfortable and unhealthy.
Be mindful and grateful!