What is Mindful Eating and Why You Should Practice It

Mindful eating is a concept that is not practiced or considered by many people. If you wonder why … just because we leave in a stressful, multi-tasking, on the run environment. For many of us, taking a 20 minutes’ break from everything and having a quiet lunch is not a priority. Little do we know that eating while watch TV, working on a report at the office or while we run to get the kids from school, can lead to unhealthy eating habits and even health problems.

In this article, I want explain to you why you should eat mindfully and I will give you some tips on how to start.

What is Mindful Eating?

First of all, the concept of mindful eating has been based on the Buddhist concept of mindfulness. Mindfulness refers to a type of meditation which helps you to identify and manage your emotions and physical sensations. According to some studies, through this kind of meditation you can help your body to heal from anxiety, depression and eating disorder.

When you mindfully eating, you don’t need to meditate, however you need to focus on what you are eating and on the experience of eating. This means that your attention will 100% go towards checking the food colours, smells and tastes. Practicing mindful eating will also enable you to discover when you are actually hungry and when you are eating from boredom.

Why You Should Practice Mindful Eating

Here a few benefits you will enjoy when you are eating mindfully: 

  • You will stop overeating as you will know when your body fells full
  • No more emotional eating 
  • As you need to properly and thoroughly chew your food you will also improve your digestive process 
  • Mindful eating helps you in the process of losing weight 
  • You will learn to enjoy your meals while you concentrate on the taste and smell of food

5 Steps to Help You Eat Mindfully

There a few steps that you can follow in order to get you on the right track:

  1. No more distractions while you eat: that includesTV, your phone, or any other devices. It’s just you and your plate of food. Sit in a quiet place, preferably at a table and just enjoy the experience of eating
  2. Eat slowly: you might be tempted to eat quickly and just go on with your tasks … well, don’t. You can’t rush the process; you have to enjoy every byte and you have to chew thoroughly. Don’t worry, it’s not going to take an eternity to finish eating, just maybe 20 to 30 minutes. 
  3. Don’t worry too much about the meal time: we all have different engagements through the day. Today you might be able to have your lunch at 12 in the noon, tomorrow you might have to eat a 2pm after your meeting at the office. You need to understand it’s not about the time of the day you eat, but it’s more about taking the time and enjoying the eating experience. 
  4. Engage your senses: this means that your full attention goes to the food you eat. You can do this by first checking the colours and the smell of your food. Then try to feel the texture and taste of each bite. This is what savouring your food really means. 
  5. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself: mindful eating is not something you can master from the first try. It takes time and patience. I recommend doing this step by step. So, this week just have your lunch somewhere away from any distractions. Next week practice eating slowly, and so on.

If you start practicing mindful eating, slowly and surely you will gain control on your eating habits. You will know when to stop eating and you can avoid having eating disorders. Once you get the hang of how this works you will see that mindful eating will come natural to you.
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