It can be common to find ourselves eating on the go, watching TV, or working, for example. A buzzword you may have heard many times is mindfulness. Being more mindful in our day-to-day life can help us be more present in the moment and lower our stress levels. The concept of mindfulness and being more present can also be practiced when eating.
Mindful eating is defined as paying attention to our food on purpose, moment by moment, without judgment. It is a process-oriented rather than an outcome-driven behavior that encourages our full presence while eating. It has little to do with the typical rules around food, such as calories, carbohydrates, fat, or protein. Over time, it can retrain your eating behaviors to improve your relationship with food and allow you to appreciate and savor the experience of food in the moment.
There are many benefits to practicing mindful eating, and these benefits can include the following:
- Increased awareness of hunger and fullness – eating with fewer distractions can help you gauge your hunger and fullness levels so that you are less likely to overeat.
- Weight loss – increased awareness of how full you are may result in weight loss or weight maintenance over time.
- Better digestion – lowered stress and less overeating can help improve digestion, especially for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Healthier food choices – when you are more aware of how food makes you feel, you may choose healthier, more nutritious food that can energize and fuel your body.
- Improved self-esteem and empowerment – when you feel more in control of your food choices, you may feel more confident about your overall nutrition and continue making healthy choices.
Practicing mindful eating is a slow and sometimes an uncomfortable process. Check out our other blogs this month on specific strategies to eat mindfully, group-health.com/blog