The Benefits of Mindful Eating and How to Practice It
Hectic schedules. Marketing Ploys. Supermarket deals. Friends coming and going. Social activities… you name it, the list could go on, there is so much happening in our daily lives that what and when we eat becomes second nature. Or mindless eating.
In recent years, more and more people have taken to mindful eating. But what is it exactly?
What is Mindful Eating?
What it isn’t is complicated or time-consuming, it requires very little in the shape of attention or lifestyle change either. The simplest definition is that it is an awareness of what you are eating and drinking, the way it looks, the way it feels in your mouth and, most importantly, the way it makes you feel.
At the most basic level, it means paying attention to what you are eating.
What Are the Benefits?
People who have made the change report four significant benefits to their life;
- It slows you down
How many of us ‘eat on the go’ even when we don’t ‘need’ to? Eating used to be a social occasion and today, there are still many cultures who use food as a means of family and friends coming together – and it is not a hurried affair. Eating quickly is no good for digestion and it also means poor food portion control too. By paying attention to what you are eating, you tune into your food, its taste and texture. Overall, mealtime becomes a more pleasant, enjoyable affair.
- You eat less
People who are mindful eaters eat slower than the rest of u who gulped lunch down in between meetings. And, without realizing, we have eaten far more than what we need to. By being aware of what you eat and slowing down when you eat, you give your brain and stomach time to communicate a sense of fullness, something that takes 15 to 20 minutes to happen.
- Boosts satisfaction
By slowing down and eating less, and having a sharper awareness of what you are eating and drinking, you will feel more satisfied emotionally too. For example, the delicious chocolate mousse that you enjoy as an occasional treat or the quality, fresh fish you have pan-fried with your favourite veg will taste so much better if you eat slowly, savour the texture, the smell and the taste. You will leave the dining table or bench feeling fuller, having enjoyed the meal more.
- Proper nourishment
When we eat, what we should be doing it ensuring that the foods we choose are providing us with the nutrients and minerals that we need. This means planning ahead and with such busy lives, many of us turn up at the supermarket with no list of forethought and fling all kinds into our trolley, vaguely hoping we can make a meal from it. Mindful eating is about planning what we eat and, more importantly, WHY we are eating it.
Mindful eating brings major pluses – why not give it a try?