When it comes to diet, the first thing in most of our minds is to eat less. In reality, diet means to be mindful of what you consume, and it also means to have a balanced meal. The idea and the concept of “eating less” comes from representation that many young girls and women see on TV or on social media these days. Without most of us knowing, we would think that eating less and pushing our bodies to the limit will give us what they have: glowy skin and slim body figures.
However, the perception of “eating less” equals diet has changed, and many influencers and diet coaches are actively redirecting those mindsets of eating less, to eating a balanced meal. A lot of awareness about being comfortable in your own skin is slowly taking the world by storm, and no more starving yourself and following the world’s standard of beauty.
Some foods that you can start consuming when you want to start your weight loss journey are granola butter, oatmeals, fruits and vegetables. If you’re not looking to lose weight but to tone your body, protein is essential as it helps to build your muscles over time. Or, if you’re someone who is content with your body, but you want something to help you going throughout the day, a boost of vitamin from fruits helps you feel revitalised and it also helps your body’s immune system too!
What exactly is mindful eating?
Mindful eating derives from the wider notion of mindfulness, a common, centuries-old practise utilised in many faiths. To be mindful is to pay attention on purpose to one’s internal experiences and external stimuli in the here and now. The practice of mindfulness encourages one to reflect on their experiences and decisions rather than automatically responding to them.
When you eat consciously, you pay attention to each bite and completely appreciate the taste, texture, smell, and overall experience of the meal before you. Because of this, feelings of appreciation toward food tend to rise, which in turn enhances the enjoyment of eating. An individual who practises mindful eating is more likely to select foods that both taste good and provide essential nutrients. However, because there are many distinct ways to enjoy food, it avoids “judging” one’s eating habits. Our improved self- and planet-awareness can lead to positive changes in how we eat.
Why is mindful eating important to us?
Although it may seem counterintuitive, mindful eating is quite similar to meditating. One can enter a meditative state and stay in the present by eating slowly and appreciating each bite. Focusing on one thing at a time has been demonstrated to reduce stress and increase feel-good endorphins, which may not be immediately visible to the average person.
Keeping one’s attention on the here and now decreases stress hormone (cortisol) production, calms the heart rate, and eases tension. There is a correlation between eating more slowly and paying more attention to what one is eating and having a lower body mass index, according to research.
Benefits of practicing mindful eating
Eating mindfully is all about being present in the moment and savouring every bite. All of these things have the potential to bring calm, which in turn reduces tension and enhances the enjoyment of the food you’re concentrating on.
Eating in a mindful manner enables one to recognise when they are full, make conscious decisions regarding the healthiness of their meals, and reduce the amount of mindless snacking they do. Research has shown that practising mindful eating can help people lose weight and keep it off by preventing them from overeating.
Able to choose healthier food options
Keeping track of how you feel after eating various foods will help you make more informed selections. Self-compassion may be a powerful tool for overcoming emotional eating and redirecting your focus to the types of food that will really fuel you. Instead of feeling bloated, sleepy, and uninspired after eating, you may opt for foods that make you feel great.
You will be aware of your hunger and fullness
Following the principles of mindful eating allows you to tune into your body’s signals for when you’re hungry and when you’re satisfied. Since it may take some time for the stomach to realise that it is full, eating more slowly might help you listen to your body as it signals when it has eaten enough.
Slowing down and enjoying your meal can help you determine how much of the food on your plate you actually want to eat as opposed to eating out of habit or out of emotional desperation.
Stress can make symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other digestive illnesses worse. Mindful eating has been demonstrated to potentially aid digestion since it lowers stress levels, prevents individuals from overeating, and encourages them to take their time as they eat.
How do we practice mindful eating?
Mindfulness training calls for doing something while paying close attention to every detail. When practicing mindful eating, one should not eat “on autopilot,” meaning that one should not pay attention to anything else while eating. It’s important to bring your focus back on the meal and the process of preparing and enjoying it whenever it wanders.
- Take a few deep breaths and analyse each food’s nutritional worth.
- Shop, cook, serve, and eat with all your senses.
- Be interested in yourself and your food.
- Honor your appetite.
- Appreciate your meal.
- Feel how it tastes in your mouth.
- Focus on moment-to-moment changes.
- Rest your cutlery between bites.
- Think about where your food originated from, the plants or animals involved, and the people who transported it.
- As you converse with your dinner friends, eat carefully and pay attention to fullness signals.
All in all, mindful eating helps you to understand and respect your body better. Everyone has different metabolism levels, body shapes and sizes. Hence, practicing mindful eating means to learn and care for your body according to your body’s abilities.
Adapt what needs to be adapted, and adjust diet meals and nutrients according to your needs. Wellness is a constant practice, therefore remember not to compare yourself to others too much.