There has been a lot of talk recently about mindful eating. Mindfulness that is a form of meditation that comes from Buddhism. Now, we are not suggesting eating in a lotus pose but more so about being fully present and aware whilst eating. Its about concentrating on each bite and being present in the moment. Meal times have become a time to multi task and often we are chatting and shoveling the food in or absorbed in a screen and not really taking a moment to really taste.
Mindful eating is a technique that helps you control your eating habits and behaviours. By thinking as you eat there are more benefits. As you can imagine these often include weight loss, reduced bloating and binge eating and improving overall health.
Here are some tips on how to become a mindful eater:
- Eat slowly: try to chew your food slowly and thoroughly instead of gulping it down (try chewing each bite 20 – 30 times). It takes your brain about 20 minutes to realise you’re full so if you’re eating too fast, the fullness signal might not arrive until you have eaten too much
- Taste your food: try and pay attention to the different textures and combinations of flavours in your mouth
- Appreciate food: in this day and age, having an abundance of food always available to us (and mostly just a click away), we tend to take it for granted which subconsciously makes us devalue the food in front of us. Try and remind yourself how much work goes into growing your food before it lands on your plate.
- Avoid distractions whilst eating: try not to scroll through your Instagram or watch your favourite series on Netflix whist eating
- Listen to your physical hunger cues: try and eat when you’re feeling hungry instead of eating just because the food is there. Pay attention if you are eating out of actual hunger or because you are feeling emotional/sad or bored
- Listen to your fullness cues: similar to noticing when you’re hungry, you can apply a similar concept for noticing when you’re full. Try to stop eating when you feel satisfied to avoid feeling stuffed (this will also help avoid the afternoon slump after a big meal)
- As you eat the food think about not just the taste but the texture as you chew it.
- Eat in company: eating with loved ones has a lot of positive aspects, one of them being that it often allows us to slow down and not rush to finish our meal
Perhaps pick one of the above tips and try to implement it into your daily eating routine. As with all habit changes, don’t be too strict with yourself or feel bad if you don’t follow the principles rigidly. Mindful eating takes time and practice so enjoy the process and experiment with different techniques to find out which ones work best for you and your lifestyle.
We invite you to enjoy your food. This is what Mindful eating is really about.