What Is Mindful Eating?
Mindful eating is becoming a major wellness trend right now and there are so many important reasons for it! But I believe that the most important reason to practice mindful eating is that it’s probably the best way to be your healthiest self while enjoying your life in its fullest!
Although mindful eating is something that the Eastern philosophy followers have been practicing for years, this term is still new to us, regular people. 🙂 So, if you are still wondering what mindful eating actually is, according to healthline.com mindful eating is “using mindfulness to reach a state of full attention to your experiences, cravings, and physical cues when eating”.Essentially it’s learning to be in tune with both your physical and emotional needs! To me it really makes so much sense, because maintaining this connection between your body, your soul and your mind not only can prevent overeating, emotional eating, and poor diet choices, it should help you feel more in control of your own feelings and impulses!
Mindful eating involves “eating slowly and without distraction, listening to physical hunger cues and eating only until you’re full, distinguishing between true hunger and non-hunger triggers for eating, learning to cope with guilt and anxiety about food, and engaging your senses by noticing colors, smells, textures, and flavors of the food you’re eating.”
But… although learning what mindful eating is sounds great, what’s really important is to adapt it to your real everyday life!
…Especially if you’re a big-time sweet tooth who literally relies on having a sweet treat for boosting their everyday level of joy! (Talking about myself here 🙂 )!
After having read a few of the mindful eating articles and trying some of the techniques in the everyday life, here’s what I’ve found to be most helpful:
MINDFUL EATING STRATEGIES FOR A SWEET TOOTH:
1. Identify your needs!
Before deciding to grab an edible treat, give an extra thought to what your body really needs at the moment.
Are you really hungry? If you are – what does your body need? Is it energy? Fiber? Hydration? It’s a known fact that sometimes we may misinterpret being dehydrated or tired with a need to eat! Identifying what kind of fuel your body needs at the moment and only then making your decisions about what to eat has been a huge mind-shifter for me as far as my healthy diet goes!
Another thing that you need identify is whether you’re really hungry or are you bored, stressed or tired? In this case trying to find a non-edible way to comfort yourself is essential unless you want to end up feeling even worse from putting the unnecessary fuel into your body!
Practicing mindful eating is a good way to prevent emotional eating and focus on what your body truly needs! (You can read more on my emotional eating strategies here)
2. Fully enjoy every bite!
Mindful eating isn’t only about understanding your hunger cues! It’s also about learning to fully enjoy eating the food to ensure that you get the most out of it, both physically and emotionally!
Slowing down and enjoying EVERY SINGLE BITE is so imperative!
So, turn off all the distractions! Don’t mindlessly chew on “something” as you’re watching your favorite movie! Let the movie be a treat on itself! And when you’re done – go and enjoy your food just on its own! …And let the sweetness of that cake warm up your soul! And let the crunch of that cookie elevate your mood!
3. Find a nice way to stop!
Mindful eating is also about knowing when to wrap up your pleasant dining and switch to another activity: just as pleasant, yet not edible!
Learning how to recognize how your belly is really feeling (is it yet full or does your body need any more fuel) is truly imperative to your weight management and your overall health!
My best trick to switching from the pleasant dining too… well, something else is: when you begin feeling that your belly is getting nice and full, start thinking of what will be the other pleasant thing that you can do once you’re done with your food?
Thinking about writing the next blog article, cooking something, shopping or reading a book always helps me shift my mindset and roundup my meal without feeling deprived!
4. Plan ahead!
Finally, as nice as getting a long nice quiet meal may sound, life often does get on the way! We have to run to our appointments and our kids need to be fed! And sometimes we do not have an hour to contemplate a long lunch or dinner!
This is when planning can really help!
Planning your daily meals around your schedule, calculating how much food you’ll be able to eat according to how much time you’re going to have for your meal throughout the day is crucial if you want to become a true friend of your body!
I’ve learned a hard way to not only plan what me and my family will be eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner! But to also keep in mind when we’ll be eating!
If my boys happen to have a class later that day, I make sure to plan a smaller dinner for when we come back home to eat. On these days I also plan to have a light snack before their class begins to ensure that we don’t come back home starving!
Also if I know that on that day I will have a few appointments with just a few minutes to snack on something in between – I make sure to plan on eating small, but often! This way I won’t end up starving and feeling like I need to chump down a huge meal within like… 10 minutes of my break time!So, what did you think?
Does practicing mindful eating sound like something you’ll be giving a try? With all the positive benefits that I saw happening with my body and mood I believe that I’ll be going down the route of learning more mindful eating techniques to help me be in more control of myself and to share whatever I’ll learn along the way with you! 🙂