Practical Tips On Mindful Eating
What Is Mindful Eating?
You may have never heard of mindful eating, but it has become a more popular concept recently. The idea is not to simply be mindful of what you are eating, although that is important, but to think about how you are eating.
The idea is that if you spend more time eating then you will change your relationship with food to one that is more impactful and healthy. You will start seeing the food you eat as the fuel for your body and mind so you may find yourself eating less and feeling more satisfied. You may also start to see your meals as being an enjoyable experience rather than a chore.
Why Is Mindful Eating Important
The way that most people eat is completely mindless in that they don’t pay attention to what they eat, how much they eat or how the food that they eat is impacting their bodies. The danger in that is multi-faceted and can result in a very unhealthy relationship with food in general. It can cause us to eat unhealthy food (like a bag of chips) more often instead of an apple or banana.
Mindless eating can also cause excessive eating, which in turn can make you feel sluggish instead of feeling fueled and energized. The bad habit of eating mindlessly will cause you to add unnecessary weight, eat too much sugar and sodium and can result in many health complications. Even if someone has a high metabolism and avoids the weight gain, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes do not require extra fat on the body to form.
How To Practice Mindful Eating
There are different ways to exercise mindful eating and they all have a different impact on your experience. The first step is learning how to listen to your body. Instead of eating lunch because it is noon and your body thinks that it is time to eat, only eat your lunch when your body is saying that it is hungry.
When your stomach starts feeling empty and your tank is running low then and only then should you be eating your meal. However, you need to be more cautious not to overeat because many people will eat excessively when they are very hungry.
Eat slowly and take your time with each bite of food and you will be less likely to eat to that point of feeling bloated and tired. Listen to your body as it fills up and be committed to stopping when you feel satisfied!
Try eating your meals with other people as well. When you eat with other people then you are less likely to eat to excess because you will be busy socializing. You will be more aware of the fact that you are full because you are not thinking purely about satisfying your sense of hunger.
If you are unable to eat with a group of people, then eat in front of a mirror. When you watch yourself in the mirror then you will pay attention to how you eat rather than focusing on filling your stomach up with food. It will force you to be more mindful and make you more likely to stop when you feel satisfied.
Another trick to mindful eating is how you prepare your meals. Not only is it important to take the time to prep for the week to know that you have healthy foods on hand, but it is also crucial to present the food in a mindful way.
You don’t need to make the plate look fancy (unless you want to) but you need to think about how much food you are putting on the plate. Try using a smaller plate because studies have shown that this alone can help people eat much less.
You should also think about how much of the plate is protein (like meat or beans) and how much of it is fruits and veggies. Produce should make up at least thirty percent of your food intake for the day, so try to make at least a quarter of the plate produce and add fruits to your snacks to reach that magic number!
One of the most common issues with eating is that people eat based on their emotions. When people are bored or sad the body will start telling them that they need “comfort foods” to feel better and that is simply not true! Instead, try to fill that void with taking a walk or going to a yoga class and you will work an appetite up in a healthy way. It can be a challenge, but it is an important part of avoiding mindless eating.
It is also important to think about where the food that we eat is coming from. It is important to note whether the food is coming from a farm or a factory and to think about how food is made before it gets to our plates.
How we eat is very important to mindful eating and it can be easy to get busy and try to sneak a meal in while getting a million other things done. However, it will only allow you to eat to excess without realizing that you are doing it! It is better to get your work out of the way and focus purely on eating while you eat.
Instead of answering emails or watching television while you eat, carve out fifteen minutes to make sure that you are focusing all of your energy on the meal in front of you and be mindful of every bite that you are taking. It can be hard to find the time but the benefits of mindful eating are worth every second!