What Is Mindful Eating And How It Benefits You
You may have heard of mindful eating on TV, in magazines, or online. It’s a pretty hot topic right now. In fact, it’s been being talked about so much that a lot of people get the false impression that it’s some kind of new fad diet. In fact, mindful eating isn’t a diet at all – but it can help you lose weight.
The goal of mindful eating is pretty simple. It’s about being more mindful of the foods you eat. It’s about really enjoying food and using it to nourish your body instead of eating just to eat. You take time to feel your body and learn about hunger cues.
Your body knows what it needs but we’ve stopped listening to it. We eat at specific times instead of when we’re hungry, we eat until we’re stuffed, and we learn early that we’re not supposed to leave food on the plate when we leave the table. These habits actually hurt you in the long run.
Mindful eating isn’t a diet. It’s a lifestyle where you eat when you’re truly hungry, you pick foods that are delicious and nourishing, and you take time to savor each bite. It’s also the best step you can take towards getting rid of the unhealthy diet mindset and developing a healthy relationship with food.
There is a common slogan used along with mindful eating:
Mindful eating is eating with intention and attention.
The key steps to mindful earing are:
1. Listen to your body when it comes to hunger. Eat when you’re actually hungry, not when it’s time to eat. You should also take care to make sure it’s actually hunger and not emotional hunger or thirst.
You can drink water throughout the day to avoid “thirst hunger” but “emotional hunger” is a bit more difficult. The more practice you have with mindful eating the better you’ll get it at it. The main thing to remember is that emotional hunger happens quickly while actual hunger is more gradual. Emotional hunger can be triggered by stress, fear, and tons of other emotions.
You should also stop eating before you feel stuffed. Instead, aim to be done when you no longer feel hungry. That stuffed feeling is actually you overeating! Don’t be afraid to leave some food on the plate.
2. There are is no “healthy” and “unhealthy” when it comes to food. There are, however, foods that are more nourishing.
As part of the mindful eating lifestyle you can eat anything. You do want to aim to fill your diet with foods that are nourishing to your body but there is nothing wrong with having some ice cream or chocolate. You’re free to make that choice. Just make sure you’re doing it because you want to, not because of emotional hunger.
3. Eat your food slowly and enjoy it.
Eating food slowly will make you feel full more quickly but it also makes sure you enjoy the time you spend eating. Find a quiet place and savor each bite. Really taste it and feel the textures. Think about how the food will nourish your body. In between bites put down your fork and take a sip of water. Enjoy your meal!
The goal is to be mindful while you eat. Think about the food, how you feel both physically and emotionally, and learn to pay more attention to the way food affects you.
Mindful eating can help you in a lot of ways. Some you may expect, others you may not have thought of before. It’s a mindset that goes deeper than any diet and I think that’s a big part of how it affects us. Here are four great benefits of mindful eating.
1. You’ll start to enjoy food more, even though you won’t eat as much.
When you take the time to really focus on each and every bite of your food you start to pick out flavors and textures. You learn more about which foods you love and when you’re eating something particularly delicious you’ll get to really savor it. Eating your favorite foods becomes an even more amazing experience when your focus is on enjoying it to the best of your ability!
2. You’ll make the choice to eat more nourishing food.
Mindful eating is about listening to your body and feeding it for nourishment rather than eating mindlessly. Not only do fruits and vegetables offer great flavors and textures but you’ll notice that after eating a nutritious meal your body and mind will feel better. Of course you can still have your treats, but they’ll be conscious choices rather than “cheats.”
3. It can end the unhealthy relationship most people have with food.
Today we’re taught that some goods are “good” and some foods are “bad.” If you want to be healthy there is this entire section of foods we shouldn’t eat. The “diet mindset” is all about restricting yourself to lose weight and it’s something that leaves you feeling like you’re missing out. It’s not something you can turn into real lifestyle changes.
Mindful eating isn’t about restricting yourself. It’s not about leaving the table hungry, avoiding carbs, or eating in every night. It’s about eating when you’re hungry, stopping when you’re not, and taking the time to eat each bite of your food mindfully.
4. You can lose weight!
This is a big one for a lot of people. Most people look into mindful eating because they want to lose weight but don’t want to count calories or deprive themselves of their favorite foods. Mindful eating helps you lose weight because it helps you stop overeating and snacking mindlessly.
When you eat more slowly and take a break between bites you’ll feel when you’re not hungry rather than just eating until you’re stuffed.
Mindless snacking is a big issue you can help to end through mindful eating. Have you ever made a bowl of popcorn or grabbed a bag of chips before sitting down to watch TV? It’s full one minute and empty the next! You weren’t thinking about the food as you ate it so you didn’t realize exactly how much you were eating. That’s what mindful eating aims to stop.