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8 Tips to Practice Mindful Eating
Sep 14, 2021
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Most Americans eat on auto mode, often while juggling other responsibilities in their hectic schedules. You eat breakfast on the run, lunch while replying to messages, and dinner while watching Netflix. You may believe you are efficient, but in reality, you are making it much harder to fit into your pants, among other adverse effects. Such mindless eating is not only harmful to health and midsection, but it also robs you of one of life's greatest pleasures: food. Rather than attempting to eat as quickly as possible — stuffing in as much food as fast as possible —mindful eating keeps you present at the moment, allowing you to get more satisfaction out of your meals. You also eat less.

For many of us, eating as attentively as we do on retreat or in mindfulness practice is unrealistic, especially with families, careers, and other temptations. Not to mention that our colleagues, family, and friends may not have the patience to dine with us because each meal takes five minutes. So be kind to yourself and think of structured mindful eating on retreats and special days, as well as casual mindful eating in your everyday life.

What is mindful eating

What is mindful eating?

Mindful eating is centered on the Buddhist concept of mindfulness. Mindfulness is a form of meditation that aids in the recognition and management of emotions and bodily sensations. It's used to manage various problems, including eating problems, anxiety, depression, and a variety of food-related habits. Mindful eating is about paying full attention to the experience, desires, and physical indicators when it comes to eating.

In its most basic form, mindful eating entails:

  • Slowly and quietly consume your meal.
  • Listening to your body's hunger signals and only eating till you're full.
  • Recognizing the difference between genuine hunger and non-hunger eating impulses.
  • Colors, smells, sounds, textures, and flavors can be used to engage your senses.
  • How to deal with food-related guilt and anxiety.
  • Consuming foods that promote overall health and well-being.
  • Observing how food affects your mood and appearance.
  • Valuing what you eat.

These things enable you to substitute automatic thoughts and actions with more thoughtful, healthy ones.

It's important to note that mindful eating is not a diet regimen. It's a mindful approach to eating and enjoying food that promotes both health and satisfaction. The goal of mindful eating is to impart awareness and understanding to the act of eating. You're more inclined to make healthier decisions that sustain your body if you slow down and listen to what and how you consume. Here are some suggestions for practicing mindful eating.

Eat Slowly

Eat Slowly

It takes time for your brain to detect that you're eating and connect with your body when you're satisfied. It takes around 20 minutes for the brain to recognize that you've consumed enough meals. Pausing in between nibbles can help you develop a healthy eating routine. You'll likely eat significantly less. In this approach, eating slowly can help you avoid overeating, leading to weight gain and intestinal distress.

Hunger Signals

We often listen to our heads first, but like with many mindfulness activities, going into our body first may provide greater wisdom. We can respond to our bodies instead of eating once we get emotional experiences, which may be unique for each of us, such as disappointment, loneliness, tension, melancholy, or even boredom. We eat when our minds tell us to, instead of when our bodies tell us to. Proper mindful eating is paying close attention to our bodies' hunger cues. Recognize your body's hunger cues as well as emotional hunger prompts.

Beware of External Cues

Portion sizes have exploded in the past few decades, and the number of options for a quick bite to eat appears to be endless. Write down everything you put in your mouth before you eat to avoid mindless eating. Also, instead of using regular 11-inch plates, use 9-inch plates to reduce portion exaggeration. If you're eating out, order from the appetizer list or ask for a doggy bag and take half of your meal home to eat later.

Sit Down and Disconnect

Sit Down and Disconnect

Eating often can feel like just another task on the to-do list. Your body and mind both require a break, as well as food to feel nourished. Sitting down and eating without interruptions encourages you to focus on your food and how you enjoy it. You might discover that you've developed a terrible habit of eating too hastily or without really tasting your food. Mindful eating also encourages us to take a genuine break, which can help us feel more calm or engaged as we go about our day.

Breathe

Close your eyes, connect with your body and breathe deeply before you eat. Integrating your breathing allows you to heed both internal and exterior events (thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations). Breathe slowly. Inhale for three counts, hold your breath for three counts, and then exhale for six counts. Don't chastise yourself if your thoughts roam — because they will. Identify the distraction and return your focus to each breath.

Chew Well

Undigested food fragments can glide through the intestines if you eat on the go and don't chew your food thoroughly. Bloating, flatulence, and indigestion are all symptoms that these particles can cause. Chewing properly sets in motion the process of digestion and enables increased vitamin and nutrient absorption. The ability to digest food properly is critical to one's overall health.

Mindful Kitchen

Mindful Kitchen

A mindful kitchen is organized and cared for so that it promotes healthy eating and nutritious gatherings. Consider the items you bring into your kitchen and how you store them. We eat when food is served. You don't have to plan your meals down to the last bite, and flexibility is crucial, especially for special events, but be conscious that your eating patterns may change at different times of the year or for separate occasions. When you plan correctly, you're also much more likely to eat the amount of food your body requires at the time, rather than eating poorly and overindulging later or overeating and subsequently loathing it.

Gratitude

Recognize the effort and time that went into preparing your meal. Consider all of the components, as well as the effort and intention that went into bringing the food onto your dish. Everyone enjoys being recognized for their hard work, and voicing appreciation at meals reminds us of how humans and nature work together to provide us with nutritious food. This simple recognition aids in the promotion of attentive eating habits and overall emotions of contentment.

While mindfulness is the remedy to eating on reflex, you don't have to start immediately. Begin with lunch or daily snack and work your way up. Most essential, make that commitment to eating good and nutritious food to nourish your soul and body. You'll improve your health and feel much better once you've done so.