It’s a New Year — and in this topsy-turvy era, it’s even more important to take control of the things that are in our power, such as our eating habits.
Right now, if you go on any social media platform, you’ll see memes, tweets, and quotes depicting bad eating habits during the quarantine. Seriously, for many of us, our fridges and pantries have replaced our best friends.
There is comfort in food, and it’s been easy to get carried away with the Oreos, the Cheetos, and of course, the ice cream. But, these sweet treats, are doing you more harm than good, as the processed sugar heightens your emotions, causing you to snack more, which can cause weight gain and other health issues.
That’s where mindful eating comes into play.
What is Mindful Eating?
Mindful eating is all about being present with your food. It’s the practice of observing how food makes you feel as you are fueling your body. With mindful eating, it’s also important to note how certain foods make you feel afterward.
For example, if you eat something fresh like an arugula salad or a slice of watermelon, how do you feel after? Bloated and tired or refreshed and happy? Or on the opposite end of the spectrum, after you eat a greasy steak and cheese, do you feel full and satisfied, or do you feel tired and cranky?
Paying attention to your body’s reactions to food is the idea behind mindful eating. Attention should be given through all senses including taste, touch, scent, sound, and sight. This makes for not only a more satisfactory food experience but a healthier one.
The Benefits of Eating Mindfully
Eating mindfully has a plethora of benefits for the body, mind, and soul. Of course, there are the obvious ones such as weight loss. Being in control of what goes into your body, will certainly help you to make healthier choices when it comes to diet and it can help eliminate binge-eating from your list of bad habits.
When it comes to mental health, mindful eating is great for reducing stress and bringing more positivity into your life. If you are fueling your body, only when you need, with what makes you feel good, your overall mood will drastically improve. Most people don’t fully understand that everything stems from the gut and that the gut-brain connection is strong. So, of course, what you ingest is going to affect how your mind works and feels.
Sugar and processed foods tend to cloud our brains and make productivity more difficult to achieve. This can cause frustration, laziness, and unhappiness. However, if you consciously fill your plate with fresh whole foods, your food is working as your fuel to get you through the day.
On top of all of that, eating with a clear and conscious mind makes for an overall better relationship with food. The experience when eating food mindfully is much more enjoyable because you are sensing everything on a deeper level. This can make your favorite meals taste even better and leave you feeling more satisfied. Does it get any better than that?
How To Practice Mindful Eating
Practicing mindful eating, to be truthful, is difficult at first because we live in a society that is conditioned to instant gratification and convenience. We often scarf down fast food burgers and fries on the way to our activities and opt for a bagel and coffee from the local cafe on the way to work rather than enjoying a nice homemade breakfast in our kitchens.
These simple daily habits seem completely innocent, but over time, they can cause an unhealthy relationship with the food that we put into our bodies. Small changes in your lifestyle and choices can lead you into a world of mindful eating, and we promise, this transition can change your life.
Here are some easy tips on how to practice mindful eating:
- Eat slowly
- Eat without distractions such as TV, radio, or a book
- Do not eat on-the-go
- Listen to your body about when you are hungry and when you are full
- Learn to determine if you’re really hungry or if you’re just craving comfort or trying to cure boredom
- Pay attention to all of your senses when you eat
- Appreciate the food you are eating
Once you begin to incorporate these small changes into your life, you will notice the overall benefits that mindful eating has on your mind, body, and soul.
Photo by Acabashi via Wikimedia Commons