What is Mindful Eating?
In recent decades, mindfulness meditation has taken the West by storm. As a result, more and more people are experiencing less stress and more fulfillment in their life by “staying in the moment.” Well, mindfulness can be applied to any area of your life, including eating!
You may have heard of mindful eating before and assumed it had something to do with eating more slowly and chewing your food longer. And while these two considerations are part of the practice, they only scratch the surface.
Guidelines for Mindful Eating
You may be wondering why you should even begin to explore mindful eating. Well, the main reason is that the practice can help you to maintain a healthy weight. This of course helps you to prevent the development of certain chronic diseases such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Mindful eating also helps lower our stress levels so our bodies can more fully digest and utilize the nutrients in the food we are eating.
Health benefits aside, mindful eating also puts a lot of joy in your life. Most people no longer savor their meals but instead wolf them down while mindlessly watching TV or surfing the Internet. Mindful eating reminds you to savor your food and, in reality, savor every moment of this delicious life!
If you’re interested in mindful eating, here are some guidelines to help get you started:
Refrain from eating because “it’s time” or because you are feeling intense emotions. Instead, become aware of hunger and satiety cues to guide your decisions on when to eat.
Be mindful when creating a shopping list, choosing those items that have real health value.
Start with a small portion, you can always have second helpings if needed. But you may be surprised how often those second helpings aren’t needed when you eat slowly.
Enjoy each bite of your food. Taste all the flavors and feel the different textures of your food. Eating this way not only adds joy and sensuality to your life, but it helps you to eat more slowly so you don’t overeat.
Eat at a table without any distractions aside from conversation with those who are sharing the experience with you. If you are alone, let eating be your only focus.
Mindful eating makes dieting a thing of the past and empowers people to make better food choices through common sense and enjoying the experience of eating. I encourage you to give mindful eating a try and see if it can’t benefit your health and overall well-being.