Mindful eating is the creation of intentional eating habits to enrich and appreciate meal experiences. The objective is to recognize the body's physical and emotional signals to promote a healthy relationship with food. Using a nonjudgmental approach, mindful eating can improve mental well-being, decrease the risk of chronic disease, and encourage body positivity. Rather than focus on calorie restriction, mindful eating places value on the process of eating itself.
Mindful Eating Takes Patience
Mindful eating requires awareness and patience. It is essential to slow your eating to fully experience your food's taste, smell, and texture. Developing this habit will gradually improve your ability to identify fullness, choose healthier food choices, and reduce serving sizes. Mindless eating, on the other hand, is consuming food while distracted. Have you ever eaten a meal while watching your favorite TV show? Listening to your body's cues in a stimulating environment is challenging, often leading to emotional or binge eating. Therefore, taking a deep breath and enjoying the flavors on your plate is crucial.
Mindful Eating Tips
Mindful eating is built on a solid foundation of practice and commitment. The following tips can enhance your experience:
- Chew slowly and thoroughly. After each bite, set down your utensil and chew a minimum of 20-40 times. Doing so can release an intermingling of spices and herbs that you normally fail to enjoy. In addition, taking smaller bites can aid digestion and communication with the body when you are full. You may realize that your eyes were bigger than your stomach.
- Serve out your portions. Avoid eating out of a bag or box, as you will likely get lost in its contents. Viewing your portions will boost your appreciation of your food's color, quality, and preparation. Pausing and practicing this gratitude will deepen your understanding of how each food benefits your body.
- It's all about the plate! Choose a smaller plate when dining, preferably nine inches or less. This strategy will trick your brain into believing you have a larger portion, which in turn, will prevent overeating. It's not necessary to clean your plate, either. Through mindful eating, you will learn to trust your gut instincts, so to speak. If you are feeling satisfied, stop!
- Be conscious of your hunger level. Never rush into eating without considering the reason. Does your body require nourishment, or are you simply bored? Scheduling consistent mealtimes will encourage you to savor your food and avoid excess snacking.
Mindful eating is a unique journey for everyone. Being cognizant of your environment and identifying emotional triggers can significantly reduce poor eating habits. Paired with nutrition education, mindful eating is a valuable step toward self-acceptance and open-mindedness.
By, Coach Kaleigh