You want to live a healthier life, but where do you start? There are so many people out there telling you what you should and shouldn’t do, what you should and shouldn’t eat…it can get a little overwhelming! One great way to get started is by implementing mindful eating into your daily life.
Have you ever forgotten to eat lunch because you’re so busy throughout the day? Have you ever eaten a meal and then still felt hungry after? Have you ever mindlessly grazed on a snack? Or scarfed a meal down without really thinking about what you are doing?
It’s rare that we actually think about the food that we eat. We don’t often let our bodies and minds process the food that’s in front of us.
According to the Center for Mindful Eating, mindful eating is all about incorporating a little bit of meditation while you eat, to help you appreciate your food as you eat it.
Here’s how mindful eating can improve your overall health
Mindful Eating Helps You Become Aware of Your Eating Habits and Patterns
When you take a minute to think about what you’re eating, how you’re eating, and why you’re eating before you actually do it, your brain becomes more aware of the circumstances around food.
Mindful eating can also include identifying the color of your food, the way it smells, and its texture.
As you learn to practice this mindful eating, patterns and habits (good and bad!) will start to become apparent. It allows you to evaluate your behavior with food, which can help you identify changes that you can make to implement a healthier lifestyle.
It’s all about listening to your body’s cues. This allows you to realize when you’re hungry, when you’re full, when you’re thirsty, and what specific nutrients your body is craving. You’ll make better decisions and will actually be giving your body what it needs and craves.
Mindful Eating Can Help You Lose Weight!
According to Harvard, a slower, more thoughtful way of eating can be effective with management weight problems. It can help you avoid unhealthy choices, including processed foods, fast food, or nutrition-less snacks.
When you practice mindful eating, you’re also a lot more likely to eat less food. When you stop grazing and get rid of all distractions surrounding mealtimes (like TV or your smartphone), you become a lot more aware of what you are consuming, which helps you make better choices.
Mindful Eating Helps You Manage Your Emotions
Being aware of your eating habits can help you address any guilt or anxiety you feel about food.
A lot of people who struggle with maintaining a healthy lifestyle either restrict their food intake or overeat in an attempt to cope with their emotions, negative feelings, or anxiety. Food can serve as a distraction from any worries or stress that you’re feeling.
But this isn’t a healthy way to eat. If you choose to use healthier ways of coping, like deep breathing exercises and meditation, you may no longer feel that you need to use food to manage your emotions.
Even if you’re struggling to cope, it’s often better to push through those tough feelings instead of locking them in a box in your mind or alleviating them with food.
Your Relationship With Food Will Improve
Many of us were card-carrying members of the “clean plate club” as children. This is a common way that parents encourage picky toddlers to eat all of their food, but can become a harmful practice as you get older.
Now, you may be stuck in this tendency to keep eating until there’s nothing on your plate or the bag of chips is empty. We rarely choose to listen to our bodies to discover when we’re full — instead, we look for external cues.
This results in consuming extra calories that we simply don’t need. All in a useless effort to finish what we started.
When you practice mindful eating, it can help you become much more aware of your thoughts and behaviors surrounding food. This will allow you to have an easier time controlling your actions, and even become more satisfied with less food.
As you can see, mindful eating can be a really effective method to managing your weight. And all you need to do is use your brain!
I challenge you to start practicing mindful eating today! See if you notice any habits or patterns that you didn’t previously realize you had.