Mindful eating is an art of self-love. When you eat mindfully, you are telling yourself that you truly love, appreciate and cherish the body and the life that you have.
Introduction to mindful eating
We surely are familiar with the term mindfulness, such as paying attention to the present moment and acknowledging our state of mind.
Now, what is mindful eating?
Mindful eating is an art of savoring the food to nourish our body and mind. Yes, we are eating not just for our body but also for our mind. The amount of nutrient-rich foods that we are eating has a huge impact on our overall well-being. It determines our energy level, emotional stability and even the quality of our performance at work.
Before we go deeper into the subject, it is important to understand that mindful eating is not about restricting the amount of proteins, fats, calories, and carbohydrates that you eat. The main intention of mindful eating is to help individuals cherish their eating moment so that it becomes a guilt-free, enjoyable and meaningful experience. It is about what we should eat instead of what we shouldn’t.
Why is mindful eating more effective than any form of restricted diet?
Mindful eating is a process-oriented instead of outcome-driven approach. When a person chooses to eat mindfully, they will become more aware of their food selection. This awareness then leads to a habit of healthy eating, which leads to long-term positive outcomes that we all want for our body.
On the other hand, a restricted diet is an outcome-driven approach. When someone finally reaches their goals, it is no longer rewarding to keep restricting the food selection. Which in most cases leads to a so called “yo-yo dieting”.
Benefits of mindful eating
Here are five of many benefits of mindful eating:
May reduce stress, anxiety, and depression
May improve the body’s natural ability to control emotional cravings
May improve our emotional stability
May help reduce excessive weight
Simple steps to mindful eating
These are six simple steps that you can follow if you want to start implementing mindful eating in your daily lives:
1. Get rid of all the distractions
Mindful eating is all about focus and attention. Start with putting aside electronic devices that are not necessary while eating. It is also not recommended to eat while rushing from place to place. Use this time to add value to your days.
For example, if you are eating alone, try connecting with yourself. If you are eating with others, try to truly connect with them.
2. Experiment with your meals
The colours, smell, and taste of the food you are eating can also improve your state of mind. Start with paying attention with what is on your plate. Ask yourself, does this really nourish my body? If yes, how can you present it beautifully to yourself so that you can enjoy it more?
3. Pay attention to the internal cues
Mindful eating is about eating for nourishment. Start with learning to focus on your internal cues like cravings, satiety and your current emotional state. When you are craving a particular food, ask yourself following questions:
- Do I want to eat this because there is a certain emotion that I want to run away from? or,
- Do I want to eat this because my body needs it to continue on with my day?
4. Savour and slow down
If you have a habit of devouring your food, then it is time to change that. Try to chew at least 20 times each mouthful and savour the food.
When take time to chew, you are allowing your digestive system to functions properly, which stimulates the production of the gastrointestinal hormones (or gut hormones).
5. Do not label any food as “bad food”
Labelling certain food bad will only result in unnecessary guilt when we eat them. If you really want to eat a cupcake, then eat a cupcake and enjoy it! You can always create new recipes of your favourite food using healthy ingredients if you think you need to.
6. Say thanks for your food
Gratitude is a simple act of maintaining our inner peace. It develops a sense of happiness inside of you, which will enable you to cherish your food and taste every bite of it.
Mindful eating is an art of self-love. When you eat mindfully, you are telling yourself that you truly love, appreciate and cherish the person that you are and the life that you have.
We will talk more about this topic and other aspects of mindful living in the upcoming blog posts. Make sure you subscribe so you won’t miss it!