How To Practice Healthy Mindful Eating
We always strive to put our best foot forward and lead a healthy life. And we know that eating right is just as important as working out. But sometimes doing so is easier said than done. Fab diets fail, we struggle with portion control, and can’t help but indulge when we are really hungry post long run. Instead of going on restricting diets that often lead to failure, what we need to practice mindful eating. This helps in to make healthy eating become a lifestyle and not just an on again off again relationship we have with food.
How exactly do we practice mindful eating? And what does this truly even mean?
What Is Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is exactly what it sounds like, paying mindful attention to what we eat. But it also is much more in-depth than making good food choices and watching how many bites we take. Mindful eating means being aware and managing our emotions and cravings when it comes to what we eat.
Think of it as a form of meditation that involves tuning into when we are hungry, and when we really aren’t. For example, often we are thirsty instead of truly being hungry. This might mean reaching for a glass of water with lemon before having a mid-day snack. Over time we can learn and begin to listen to real cues as to when we want to eat as well as when we are satisfied.
We are used to eating large portioned meals and eating every bite. This means even when we are full. Taking time to chew and enjoy the flavors in food can help slow down mealtimes. It also allows us to listen to our bodies and when we are pleasantly full without feeling like we are going to explode.
Mindful eating also means becoming familiar with the positive benefits of selecting and eating healthy foods. We might start to learn the certain health properties of certain fruits and vegetables and reach for them when we think a cold might be coming in, when we have digestion issues, or when we are craving something sweet or salty.
How To Practice Mindful Eating
This is not a diet, but rather a new perspective to have regarding how we eat. Mindful eating means learning how to listen to hunger and fullness cues and reacting based on this.
1. Shop For Tasty Foods
To start mindful eating, start by shopping for foods that are wholesome and nourishing. This means those that are nutritious, yet full of flavor. Aim to ignite all the sense such as sight with brightly colored peppers and taste like the crunch of nuts. This doesn’t mean we must force ourselves to eat things we don’t like.
Knowing what we like and dislike Is important. If you are forcing yourself to more vegetables even though you only really enjoy a few, this process will fail. It should come naturally and not feel restrictive or like a diet. Be open to trying new things, but also stick to things you really enjoy eating.
2. Slow Down When You Eat
We live in a society where we tend to eat fast. This often means on-the-go. It’s much easier to stop for a designer coffee that’s full of sugar that to make a cup at home. It’s easier to hit up the local fast food joint instead of making dinner after work. But being mindful of what you eat means that you realize all that sugar in our diet is harmful to your health and your body will feel so much better after a home cooked meal opposed to greasy fast food.
This might mean preparing foods in advanced. Meal prep actually helps those stick to healthy habits since the temptation to eat something bad when we are hungry isn’t there.
Also, physically slow down when eating. Take time to thoroughly chew and enjoy eating. We very much can still enjoy eating and food in general, and we should. Share a nice meal with family and friends and savor each bite. Pay attention to when you are full by pausing and assessing if you really had enough. Put the fork down, take a few breaths and then continue if not full yet.
3. Eat Distraction Free
Do not eat in front of the TV. Do not eat and browse social media on your phone. Eat at the kitchen table. And do so distraction free. If solo, take this time to mentally unwind for the day. Focus on the meal. Smell the smells and really taste the flavors. Meditate while enjoying the meal. If with others, take this time to talk. Yes, actually communicate with loved ones. Ask them about their day and share stories. Eating should be enjoyable, and what better way than to break bread with family and friends?
Without distractions, it’s easier to be in tune to how your body is feeling while you eat. It’s much easier to snack in front of your favorite reality show or have that extra glass of wine when all you really wanted was one. Learn to focus on one thing at a time. That doesn’t mean you can’t ever enjoy a snack with a movie, but this might mean preparing something healthy or portioning out the popcorn and skipping the soda for water.
4. Learn To Not Eat Feelings
When you are sad, bored, PMSing, and even happy, you can eat based on these moods. It’s important to not eat our feelings. This means not giving into cravings that are based on how we feel. Food should make us feel good since it is nourishing our bodies. However, it might feel good at the moment to have that ice cream. And maybe that day you use this as a treat. But other times you might eat the entire pint and still feel sad and now bloated and gross. Mindful eating means weighing the pros and cons of how this will truly make you feel. Do you really need the chocolate to feel better? Maybe going for a run might be a better option.
It takes time to link emotions with our eating habits. A good way to practice this part of mindful eating is to keep a food diary. Focus on cravings and how indulging or not indulging made you feel. Then try to make changes like cutting out that caffeine out from twice a day to once a day to eventually all together.
- Easy Mindful Eating Tips That Are Actually Worth Following, Fitness Magazine ,
- What is Mindful Eating?, Health Website ,