Mindlessness vs Mindfulness
Can you remember the last thing you ate? How did it taste? How much did you eat? Did you enjoy your meal? If you are like most people, you may not remember the answer to any of these questions. The truth is that mindless eating has become the norm. Many people eat on the go, while working, standing, or watching tv. While it may not seem like a big deal to snack as you scroll through your phone or as you finish up work, many experts suspect that mindless eating may be negatively affecting your health. However, there is a solution to this unique problem: Mindfulness.
Mindfulness: What is it?
Mindfulness, or the state of being fully present and aware, is something that most people associate with emotions and mental health. However, mindfulness is good for more than just your mind, it’s good for your body too. Today, more than ever, we are bombarded with distractions from television shows, cell phones, families, and 9-5 jobs. We are always engaged. The purpose of mindfulness is to figuratively switch your gears. Instead of relying on your autopilot mode, mindfulness encourages you to switch your focus and pay attention to your experiences, thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Likewise, mindful eating involves focusing your full attention on what, when, where and how you eat.
Mindful eating is simple and effective. It works because the more you pay attention to your eating habits, the more likely you are to make healthier choices and eat only what your body needs. Unfortunately, when you are snacking as you watch television or while you drive or work, you are most likely not focused on how much you are actually eating. As you develop your awareness you may find that you eat when you feel certain emotions like stress or sadness. You may even find that you snack when you aren’t hungry because you’re bored. Overall, mindful eating is about eating with purpose, listening to your body, distinguishing between hunger and boredom, appreciating the food you eat, and noticing how your body reacts to food.
How Conscious Eating Helps With Weight Loss
By being more conscious as you eat, you can take control of your health, diet, and get closer to your fitness goals. Mindful eating can help you eat less, recognize harmful eating patterns, and make positive lifestyle changes. For example, according to medical research, it takes 20 minutes for your brain to know when you are full. This delay makes it very easy to overeat and, when paired with daily distractions like television or cell phones, you may end up consuming much more food than you realize. Mindful eating can help address this issue and other issues associated with eating such as binge eating, stress eating, eating because of emotional situations, or overindulging in food cravings. The more mindful you are as you eat, the more you can evaluate your relationship with food and make better choices.
Steps To Mindful Eating
Mindfulness is a process. You may have to unlearn habits that you’ve developed over the years. However, practicing mindfulness doesn’t need to be complicated. It can be as simple as eating more slowly or chewing your food more thoroughly. Overall, the best way to begin mindful eating is by buying healthy, eating when you’re hungry, and focusing on enjoying your meal.
1. Buy Healthy
Mindful eating starts before you ever prepare your meal because what you eat begins in the store. When you shop, shop with intention. Go into the store with a list to minimize impulse buying, or try shopping with the intention to only buy foods that are good for you. This method will help you eliminate unhealthy foods from your surroundings at home and lay a solid foundation for your new eating practice.
2. Eat When Your Body Tells You To
Pay attention to what your body tells you. A big part of mindful eating is listening to your body. Focus on eating when you feel the need to instead of eating out of boredom or skipping meals. The more you pay attention to the body, the more you can eliminate habits such as snacking, late night eating, or not eating at all.
3. Enjoy Your Meal
Take time to appreciate your food. Chew slowly and thoroughly, enjoy the appearance, taste, smell, and texture of your food. Eat as if it were the most important thing to you in the present moment, because it is. To really enjoy your meal time, try eating in silence or putting your phone away as you eat. That way you can focus more on how eating makes you feel mentally and physically. This will help you evaluate your diet, notice how certain foods affect your body, and determine if you eat because of physical needs or emotional ones.
– Mindful Eating 101 — A Beginner’s Guide
– 6 Ways to Practice Mindful Eating
– 8 Steps to Mindful Eating