When we eat, we usually don’t give it much thought. We don’t really care about how we’re eating, exactly how much we’re eating. If the food we’re eating is actually beneficial for our health, does eating it make any difference in our weight? How many calories will it have? These things just go over our heads.
Thinking too much of our food isn’t too important to us. People only want to fill their bellies but don’t give it a second thought of how can the food they’re eating and how they’re eating it could affect them. Mindless eating increases the obesity rate and develops unhealthy eating habits. In this article, we will talk about how to do mindful eating and avoid mindless eating.
What is Mindful Eating?
Mindful eating comes from the concept of mindfulness. Mindfulness is a concept of Buddhist origins. Mindfulness is meditation. This type of meditation helps you with keeping a thorough check on your emotional and physical sensations. With mindfulness, it’s easier for you to deal with varying emotions.
Various food-related behaviors, eating disorders, anxiety, and depression can all be sorted out with mindfulness. Mindful eating is taking the help of mindfulness to enhance your attention span in the time of eating, cravings, and when wanting to eat. It gives a balance to your eating life. With mindfulness, you’re more aware of your surroundings. You accept your emotional needs, thoughts, feelings, and other sensations.
Mindful eating includes eating without distractions, and slowly, no matter all the other people on the table have left, you take your time and pay attention to each bite. Appreciating the food you eat is an attribute of mindful eating as well.
Mindful eating helps in losing weight, as it helps with drastic eating habits, you will have an idea when to eat and not to eat, maintaining a healthy diet and eating only when you’re supposed to.
People eat while they’re doing work, watching something, playing a game, not noticing when they’re full. They keep getting more food. This gets problematic as the body could be full, but your mind hasn’t sensed that yet as you’re busy. Mindful eating changes this and all of the unhealthy eating disorders that lead to obesity and other health-related conditions.
6 Ways to Practice Mindful Eating
1. Listening to Your Body
As babies, we ate only for the nutritional needs and growth our body required to grow and progress and accomplish our milestones so we could grow bigger. This went on for a few years, but as adults, we started to eat not only when we were hungry, but some of us, when depressed or sad, took eating as a soothing mechanism to help us feel better.
Some people get tense or worried and start eating. Some eat because they’re bored. Due to this, food becomes an emotional reliever rather than a fuel. To eat mindfully, eat only when you’re hungry and when your body needs energy, not when you’re sad, depressed, or anxious.
2. Slowing Down
By slowing down, we can actually align our bodies with our minds. If our minds are in sync with our bodies, then we can actually pay attention to our food and how much we’re eating. By experiencing the food with each bite slowly and not rushing and eating several bites in a couple of minutes, your body will process your nourishment needs and can alert your mind when to stop. This results in less weight gain, your body will not gain excess weight, and chances of obesity in many people is significantly reduced.
3. Eating with Others and at Specific Times
Another mindless way of eating is when we’re bored or when we have found something to watch, maybe a movie or a YouTube video, we go find something to eat while watching it. Snacks are important, yes, but snacking a lot at random times whenever you’re bored or want to do it when you’re watching something can disrupt your normal organized schedule of eating and snacking.
Eating with someone rather than eating alone is also a way of mindful eating as you’ll pay much more attention to your food this way. The connection not only makes the food worthwhile but also makes the conversation more engaging. Using utensils rather than hands is another good way of mindful eating and also maintains your table etiquette. Scheduled meals and snack times and eating with people are good steps to practice mindful eating.
Eating foods that are nutritionally healthy and are rich in all kinds of nutrients rather than snacks like chips or cookies, or chocolates that don’t fulfill a nutritional purpose but act as an emotional reliever is another way of mindful eating.
To counter the urge to eat unhealthy foods, we can do something like, for example, instead of eating chocolates when you’re sad, you can eat something small and healthy instead, that acts like a snack but is healthy instead, such as a raisin. Eating different varieties of healthy foods rather than just your same everyday emotional support food makes a great difference in your diet, and you’re one step closer to living both a healthy and mindful life.
5. Connecting with How Your Food
In older times, people usually took in mind a lot how the food they ate was made. Their whole days were spent gathering up resources to provide food on the tables. It was an effort that was respected and appreciated. In recent times, we usually don’t give much thought to how the food that has made its way on our plate came.
Another mindful way of eating is appreciating all the people who have worked for the food you’re eating, the farmers who gathered up the resources, the workers who put the products on the shelves, the packaging companies, your mother, or anyone who prepared the meal. Appreciating and pausing for a moment to think of all the people in your food’s making. Expressing gratitude for the food you eat is a major way of mindful eating.
6. Not Getting Distracted
Getting distracted while eating or using eating just as a way to alter our entertainment experiences is not only unhealthy but also our body doesn’t realize how much it has consumed because we’re so busy at whatever we’re doing, our mind gets distracted and doesn’t realize how much the body has surpassed the required limit of eating.
Taking time to realize what you’re eating and how much you have already eaten is a way of mindful eating. Avoid multitasking or even if you’re eating something while doing or watching something, pay attention to your bites so your body remains aligned with your mind and you don’t overeat.
Mindful eating is beneficial for a healthy diet and a healthy mind. Eating with attention and gratitude keeps your calories in check, your body gets aligned with your mind, so you not only eat more than necessary, but your body alerts you from overeating.
Mindful eating prevents obesity and other health-related disorders. Remembering how your food has been made, avoiding multitasking while eating, eating slowly, scheduling and planning meals are ways to practice mindful eating and lead you to a very healthy and content life.