Benefits of Mindful Eating: Savor and Indulge- Improve your relationship with food in the most accessible way
“Food is life” or so the saying goes and at times, it really feels like it is true- especially when food feels like one of the most accessible ways to de stress or get rid of boredom. From social media accounts dedicated in posting the most eye pleasing food to your friends asking you to hang out for a snack, indulging yourself to the point of overeating really is an unavoidable aspect of life- or so you think. This ancient practice might be the answer to allow yourself to fully bask in the essence of the food you are eating while still avoiding excessive weight gain- but what is mindful eating and what do you exactly gain from it?
Mindful eating is the practice of fully paying attention to the food you are eating and making the most out of it- it helps us connect the simple action of eating to our emotions, thoughts and body cues. Many books could be found to apply mindful eating into your daily life but these few helpful tips could get you started:
- Start slowly – Not everyone gets it perfect on the first try. Start with something small like cutting down your soda intake to half of what you usually drink- for example: if you drink four cans of soda each week, make it only two cans per week.
- Follow your body’s own cues – When you feel like you are full already, stop eating. Don’t worry; you will still get to eat that pizza slice in the future. Sometimes that one last slice can be one too many.
- Opt for a healthier choice of snacks – There is always that one random time of the day when you are suddenly hungry- and no one’s going to stop you from eating. Instead of buying fries from a fast food stall, go for an apple or a banana; you will still feel full either way.
- Savor every second – Allow yourself to fully immerse in the food that you are eating- chew slowly, stop and continue watching that movie you are streaming for a few minutes before taking another bite, and make every moment with that delicious baked bread count.
What are the benefits of applying mindful eating into our daily lives?
- Enhances the experience of eating – How many times have you gotten sad that you have already finished your favorite cookie or your favorite bowl of pasta- that it was gone too fast? Sometimes you can blame it on eating too fast because of hunger or you can blame it on being distracted while you are eating. Doing simple things like watching TV or reading can take away so much from the experience of eating. Adopting mindful eating can help you slowly change the way you eat and how you enjoy it. As you eat slowly and more carefully, you can enjoy your food a lot more and focus on its entirety by immersing yourself in every aspect of it; to how crunchy it was or what flavors were more potent. Mindful eating can make for a more enhanced eating experience for every food you eat.
- Control your food intake instead of the other way around – Ever had the need to eat when you’re stressed? Sometimes munching on a snack would be the easiest way to de stress because getting food could be as easy as walking a few meters- you can just go to the nearest store and buy maybe a sandwich or even a full meal even when you are not hungry. Developing the habit of stress eating might let your emotions control your eating habits rather than you maintaining a healthy consumption of food for each meal. By adopting mindful eating into your lifestyle, you can keep track of when you should eat and how much you should eat because it helps you track your hunger and fullness for each meal.
- Reduce unnecessary cravings – With the takeover of social media, it is getting hard to avoid cravings for food when everyone seems to be sharing the milk tea they have had for the day or posting a photo of the pizza they shared with friends. Sometimes seeing delicious food when you are scrolling down your timeline makes you crave food at the most random times- even when you are not remotely hungry. Once you start getting into mindful eating, you will learn how to properly control your cravings because while indulging in unnecessary cravings should be avoided, treating yourself is still alright- just as long as you can manage your food intake well.
- Improve your connection with your own body – Sometimes the simple effort of improving your eating habits can make you look at your body differently and understand it better. As you get used to applying mindful eating into your life, you can know your body’s cues- when it’s time to eat and when it’s time to stop. Mindful eating can help you eat less of that hamburger or to not get an upsize on your favorite drink because your body will know how much more you can stomach.
Mindful eating is more than just cutting down your food intake- it is also changing your overall lifestyle. Its benefits can range from weight loss to gaining a more positive view on your self image. Mindful eating is not only beneficial- it is also cheap and easy, and you don’t have to sacrifice eating your favorite food just to practice it. No need to go through an intense workout or participate in a restricted diet, you just need to look into yourself and be more mindful of your eating habits.