Eating is a part of the routine of essentially every human. It is a pleasurable event for some, to the extent that many take in more than what's needed by the body during meal times. The goal is not only to satisfy hunger but also to stay healthy. However, this is often a considerable challenge to many, thanks to the abundance of food and a diet-oriented culture.
Most people practice mindless eating, rather than being mindful of how they consume food.
What if instead, eating food, was among the most spectacular moments of your day, when you are absorbed in the present moment and enjoying yourself, free of worry or anxiety. A time when you can both enjoy food, and give your mind a rest simeltaneoulsy. That is mindful eating.
You might think that mindful eating is a recent trend. However, it is an ancient practice used since long ago. It refers to eating with intention and attention. The intention is to treat yourself as you notice how delicious food affects your body.
Here are a few easy ways you can enjoy and practice mindful eating:
Avoid skipping meals
As simple as it may sound, this is imperative. When you skip any meal, it becomes quite challenging to make the right choices. For instance, whenever you will feel hungry, you are more likely to grab anything that is present for a bite, including junk. You might stop at a vending machine and pick something unhealthy or visit the nearest fast food restaurant if you are hungry in a moment and in need of something convenient.
To create the right rhythm in eating, it is best to have a relatively consistent schedule for all of your meals. Sufficient time between meals regularly, will allow the body to process food getting in, and it is best to eat slowly instead of rushing. Listen to your body to discover which meal times are ideal for you and to eat around those times as consistently as possible each day.
Pay close attention to your plate when eating
As much as many believe that they are skilled at multitasking, this should not be the case when eating. Multitasking while eating is a terrible way to maintain harmony with your body.
When your mind is distracted, for instance, you cannot listen deeply to what your body needs. Whether it is satiety or hunger, you may not be able to tell as you multitask.
When you multitask, you become distracted and cannot listen as well to your body's signals about food. You also miss out on maximizing the enjoyment of the flavors of food, when you are distracted by other things while eating.
Next time you have a meal, switch off the screen and put your phone away and focus on the meal alone. If you have someone by your side, you can simply converse with him or her instead. You will notice how alert your brain is to the quantity of food you eat.
Drink water before eating
Many use this typical trick when they do not want to eat a lot. Drink some water before your meal so that you can eat less. Water tends to act as a filler, which in turn helps to reduce your intake of food.
Drinking water beforehand also helps in the regulation of calories inside the body. Besides, other benefits of taking in plenty of water are that you will always stay hydrated. This keeps you awake and gives you a massive boost of energy to take you through the day. Aside from helping you achieve your mindful eating traits, drinking water helps you to stay healthy always.
Incorporate fiber in your diet
It would be best if you had fiber-rich foods in your diet, as they are natural fillers. They get you satiated faster than any other foods. In addition, they help with digestion and prevent constipation.
Do not rush when eating
There is no need to hurry when you are eating. This process needs your time. When you rush the process, you fail to know if you have had too much or too little. When you are hurrying, you'll usually finish the food on the plate, regardless of whether you are full or not.
Eating slowly is an ideal practice for mindful eating. When you eat your food slowly, you can easily tell when to stop and when you have had enough or too much. According to Chinese medicine, a person is only supposed to eat until he or she is 80% full. This is to ensure that his or her digestive system is operating in the right way.
There is a thin line between eating enough food and overeating. It takes mindful eating to know the difference. Often, many people think that they can eat whatever amount of food they want, which is not ideal.
It would be best to practice contentment. Learn to set a limit of food and observe it when eating. A good practice is to limit the serving at the table as you eat. It does not make sense to overtax your body with too much food.
Chew your food completely
Another good mindful eating practice is to chew food thoroughly. It would be best to chew each bite until you liquefy the food. It may take you between twenty to thirty times to achieve this, but ultimately, it is worth it.
Aside from helping you reduce the chances of choking, chewing equally helps your tongue to taste food better, thus, reducing your chances of overeating. Remember, as stated earlier, eating slowly should be in your daily routine, as it helps in regulating intake. Chewing food ensures that you eat slowly.
Consider plant-based diets
Dietary fiber is present in plant-based diets. Most scientists and doctors would advise you to increase your intake of veggies. Not only is it healthier, but it also increases your mindfulness when eating. Most greens are fillers and give out a feeling of satiety when eating. With more plants, you may overeat less.
Incorporate protein into your diet
Protein helps to increase levels of satiety when added to a meal. That is why you should learn to incorporate one source of protein in all of your meals. There are many forms of vegetarian protein also.
Connect more in-depth with the food you eat
Do not just get to the table and start pouncing on the food. It can be too easy to have a sort of disconnection from the foods we eat daily. This may be because of a routine, which entails eating quickly and to get back to a schedule.
Instead, simply notice the textures, flavors, and deliciousness of the foods you eat, while you eat them. Think about the supply chain that brought the food you are eating, to your palate and feel grateful for it.
Eating should give you an opportunity to connect with food deeply, and this is what mindfulness eating is all about. When you pause and take time to reflect on the entire process, you can learn to both appreciate and regulate your food intake and ritual of having a meal.
Which one gives you the impetus to eat, junk food or healthy food? Can you strike a balance between with foods what you love and what is healthy? Answering these questions will take you closer to mindful eating.
In conclusion, mindful eating is all about nourishing yourself and how you consider and relate to the food you eat. Mindful eating is good for your health, and you should try it today.
By Justin Osborne
Justin is a marketing specialist and blogger from Leicester, UK. When not working and rooting for Leicester FC, he likes to discuss new trends in digital marketing and share his own ideas with readers on different blogs and forums. Currently, he is working as a content marketer at uk essays and bestessays.com.
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