How many of us have this problem of munching something when we are not hungry? We are driven into eating by false external triggers like sight, aroma etc. which leaves one feeling uncomfortable. We all need to practice “Mindful Eating”. Now what do you understand by this term?
“Mindfully doing anything means being fully aware of yourself, your physical needs, your state of mind, your feelings, and your surroundings. When you completely give in your hundred percent for doing any task, it will surely give you the best results. The same is true with consciously eating your food. This is what we call Mindful Eating”.
Pay attention to the sensations the food is causing as you eat, your reason for eating and monitoring your feelings at each meal. In other words it can be called the Art of Improving your relationship with food. This helps you in having a whole new perspective towards food and you are in a better state to judge your hunger whether it is physical or emotional. Physical hunger sets in gradually and any type of food can satisfy it whereas emotional hunger is very sudden, urgent and it leads to certain cravings like specific foods like pizza, ice cream etc.
Tips for mindful eating:
- Make it a habit to sit in a relaxed atmosphere while eating. This will help us stay calm and peaceful.
- Avoid distractions like television, computers and mobiles. By doing so we can pay more attention to our food.
- Pay attention to your feelings during your meals.
- Chew you food properly; spend at least 20 minutes per meal consciously.
- Savor every bite and get into the habit of enjoying the color, texture, aroma and the taste of your food.
- Don’t ever be forced into eating and also avoid forcing others.
- Don’t make food of any kind as your stress buster.
- Before going for a second helping, take a break of a few minutes to see if you really need it.
- Be sure if you are hungry or just thirsty.
- Avoid going without food for longer periods of time, as this will lead to overeating. Instead always keep some healthy snacks like fruits, vegetable sticks etc. handy.
- Learn new recipes and enjoy a variety in your meals, because monotony and repetition of the same food will lead to boredom.
- Be creative with the presentation of the food in your plate in order to create a satisfactory visual impact.
Benefits of Mindful Eating
- Practicing mindful eating can help you be in control and pay attention to the food you’re eating, which in turn can help slow you down.
- You learn to eat when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re sated.
- It teaches you to have a control on your cravings
- You are in a better state to judge your food needs; whether emotional or physical.
- All these in turn helps in weight management, as you are aware of the triggers.
- Your energy levels are up the whole day, as you are not deprived of any food.
- You begin to appreciate the taste of different foods.
- You learn how food affects your mood and energy throughout the day.
Mindful eating is a habit that we can incorporate in our lifestyle to live a healthy and content life. We can also teach this valuable art to our children so that they can have a healthy and a strong base for a better future.