Categories: Nutrition and Diet

How to practice Mindful Eating

Throughout our everyday lives, we use the term mindfulness to describe arrays of behaviors and activities. This term is gaining popularity because it encourages conscious awareness of our surroundings, food, nature, and breathing pattern. Mindfulness encourages someone to take good care of their health. Similarly, mindful eating promotes us to recognize our eating habits. Mindfulness is a Buddhist meditation that helps you to identify and manage your physical and emotional drawbacks.

Many of us don’t pay attention to our food while eating. Nowadays, eating with distraction is becoming a new habit in our society. While being multitaskers, we indulge ourselves in numerous activities while eating, such as watching TV, working on a project, scrolling smartphones, or other secondary activities. Even parents made their kids watch their favorite cartoons or video games while feeding them to stop their fussiness about food. These bad habits can lead to numerous detrimental health effects, such as overeating, undernutrition, and digestive ailments.

What is a mindful eating practice?

Mindful eating uses the mindfulness practice, which includes paying attention to what you are eating and experiencing the joy of consuming the food. It is not any diet exercise but is an art of eating food with focusing only on our food without any distraction. 

The main goal of practicing mindful eating is to enjoy the food and encourage people to gain sensual experience of the food without judgment. 

What involves mindful eating?

When you eat mindfully, you pay attention to your feelings, food cravings, and physical response when eating. Mindful eating involves the following pointers:

  • You learn to appreciate your food and be grateful.
  • You should eat your food slowly without indulging in secondary activities, such as watching your favorite web series or tv show, checking social media, or working on laptops.
  • Sometimes, we eat food without hunger. But, with mindful eating, you experience how to distinguish between true hunger and binge eating.
  • With mindful eating, you start noticing physical hunger cues, such as the gurgling sound your stomach makes.
  • Appreciate the colors, fragrances, flavors, and textures of different food items on your plate
  • With mindful eating, you can notice the emotional  and mental effects  food brings
  • Practicing mindful eating helps cope with guilt about binge and junk food consumption. When you start paying attention to your food, you start eating to maintain overall health.

Why should we try mindful eating practices?

In today’s era, where we have numerous distractions, having food has become a mindless act with little to no attention on food. It takes around 20 minutes for our brain to recognize stomach fullness. But, if we eat too fast and mindlessly, the stomach fullness signal may not reach, and we have already consumed an excessive amount of food than necessary. But, when you eat mindfully, you improve your focus and slow down, making eating a conscious, organic act rather than a distracted one. 

When we pay more focus to eating and chewing food properly, it promotes better digestion and nutrient absorption. In addition to binge eating, consuming food speedily can lead to numerous digestive ailments. 

How can we practice mindful eating?  

Mindful eating is beneficial in treating unhealthy eating behavior, such as emotional binge eating, which is a root cause of weight gain. We can achieve mindful eating effectively with practice, exercise, and meditation. It can break the severity and frequency of binge eating. The following are the simple ways to practice mindful eating to gain numerous health benefits:

  • Instead of eating quickly, eat your food slowly and chew thoroughly.
  • You should engage all your senses when eating.
  • Don’t skip meals, and try to eat food around the same time daily. This practice can protect us from various health ailments.
  • Don’t talk while eating and focus on the physical and emotional changes food brings.
  • You should put down your phone or computer and turn off the TV.
  • Focus on the details of the food and take your time to eat the meal.
  • You should understand your emotional hunger and stop when you feel full.

What are the benefits of mindful eating?

Mindful eating leads you to enjoy and experience the food, which improves overall health. The following are a few health benefits of mindful eating:

  • It encourages better digestion
  • Keeps unhealthy diet habits at bay
  • You feel satiated with a small portion of food, thus helps in weight loss
  • Manages untimely food cravings
  • Slowing down to savor food also helps in relieving stress and anxiety

Mindful eating habits may take time to develop, but with daily practice, you can master this habit and enjoy its numerous health benefits.

Narayana Health

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