Eat Mindfully To Fully Appreciate Your Food
In this busy world, it can be extremely easy for most people to fall into patterns that lead them down an unhealthy path. When you feel like choices can be more trouble than it’s worth for you, the least troubled choice always seems like the better answer, but is it really?
When it comes to nutrition, it can take careful planning, patient observation, and diligent efforts to gain healthful benefits like great skin and healthy organs. The biggest obstacle to this can be the way you do or don’t focus on your eating habits.
This isn’t just about eating a healthy diet — whatever that means to you — but being more mindful in your eating. This allows you to figure out what foods are good for your body and mind, and which aren’t nourishing you. Mindful eating is the first step to being more of an intuitive eater and ditching those restrictive diets for good.
Your Path to Mindful Eating
The first thing is to learn some basic habits and strategies that help to get you into the mindset of being more of a mindful eater and using mindfulness for your meals, and when deciding which foods are nourishing you the most.
Being Open to What Your Body Tells You
If this is the first time that you’ve ever heard about the fact that your body has built-in signals to let you know what it needs, and when it’s had enough, then it might sound strange, but it’s important to note that doctors have used physical cues and reactions to diagnose or narrow down the range of possible illness for thousands of years.
The same principles apply when it comes to daily bodily functions as well. All events have some form of signifying or initial reaction. The best way to observe this phenomenon would be to practice mindfulness. To begin focusing and practicing mindfulness, you should first find out whether mindfulness is something that you naturally practice, or if it needs to become an adjustment that you explore.
Mindful or Mindless
When it comes to mindful eating, it is fairly direct and specific in that it is simply being focused on your present state of mind and the moment during eating. Mindfulness reduces the number of stimuli that you are likely to experience and encourages you to focus on what you find there.
If you are a mindful eater, then you’re more likely to do things like meal planning and only eat when you are hungry. These days, mindless eating is far more common because of the enormous amount of distractions that invade our lives.
If you find yourself having to eat while watching some form of entertainment, then you’re more likely to develop some habits that put you at serious risk of being a person who eats mindlessly. Continuing that kind of behavior can lead to unintentionally eating multiple portions of foods that aren’t intended to be ingested in those quantities.
Get in the Right Mindset
No matter what your specific goals may be, it’s important to approach your new habit of mindfulness with a positive attitude. Mindfulness is here to help you to enjoy life more, and not to put a pile of restrictions upon you.
When you practice becoming more mindful, you will find that your experiences will be more memorable, and many times more vivid. Also, embrace this journey that you’re on because it’s going to teach you more about yourself.
Becoming Aware of Your Eating Habits
When you’re first getting in the mode to become mindful, you have to increase your awareness of your eating habits. This will be the easiest achieved by asking yourself questions to establish a more realistic view of your relationship with your meal, and how much focus you actually have during the meal.
Some Questions to Ask Yourself:
- Do you find yourself reaching for snacks without fully realizing you have until you already have a mouthful of food?
- Do you eat when you’re bored or experiencing negative emotions?
- Do your meals typically last longer than 20 minutes, or are they rushed (eaten on the way to work, school, or home)?
- Do you feel satisfied with your meal portions, or do you often feel overstuffed after eating?
- When you are home eating a meal, are you in front of a tv, video games, internet, or any other form of entertainment while eating?
If you ended up answering yes to any of these questions, then you might find the next paragraphs somewhat helpful. They will give you a few areas where you can make changes or additions to your lifestyle and begin eating more mindfully.
Chew Your Food Many Times
You’ve probably heard every sort of rhyme that has been or can be said about the number of times you should chew your food. Even though it sounds like the most unpleasant and controlling way to get food into your body, you have to consider the fact that people digest food much better when it’s been chewed more times.
That means that your stomach and intestines will have to do a lot less work when it comes time to break these beautiful and tasty meals down into the basic building blocks that make up your body. When your food isn’t chewed well enough, it can lead to poor digestion, and waste of your food, so the next time you take a bite, take some time to chew 15 more times. Your body will thank you.
Learn to Enjoy Eating in Silence
You can view this step as the next natural progression from eliminating distractions during mealtime. At some point, you should push to eat in a quiet calm place. Every day as people go through life, they learn to block out the enormous amounts of noise coming from machinery like cars, planes, and buses of all types.
In restaurants, you will find music, and some may even have televisions blaring out the news, or some form of children’s entertainment. While it might not seem like a big deal, these extra amounts of stimuli that are being rammed into your mind like a hot knife, are exerting a small amount of stress on your senses at a constant level.
When you take some time out for yourself and step away from the chaos that surrounds the everyday tech-obsessed world, you’ll be more likely to find a massive, quiet peace as you sit with your meal. If you have a patio space, you might want to try eating there during a peaceful time.
Remember the Basics of Mindfulness
As you adapt to being a more mindful eater, you want to keep in mind the basic practices of mindfulness itself. These are the same practices you use whether you are journaling mindfully, using meditation with mindfulness, or being mindful during other activities.
- Always be present with your meals. Just like you are present during other activities, you want to be more present when you eat mindfully. Reduce distractions, focus on your food, and really enjoy the experience.
- Allowing your thoughts to come in, then letting them go without judgment. Your mind might wander a bit, which is okay. Just don’t let it distract you from your food. Try to let the thoughts come, understand that is how you feel now, and then let them pass.
- Tapping into your senses and how you feel. This is one of the most beneficial aspects of mindful eating. You are not just shoveling food in your mouth and not thinking about that next bite. You are noticing how you think and feel when you eat a specific food. This is the beginning of being a more intuitive eater.
When you practice these tips, regularly, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that these mindful habits will also lead to more healthy eating.
“Eat only when you feel hungry. Notice and feel your hunger. This is conscious eating.” — Deepak Chopra
This article was originally published on my site at https://donnapresents.com/do-you-eat-mindfully/.
Meditation is a habit that may come easily to some. I have been meditating for over five years, but there were many days I found myself slipping. These days, not so much, not since I completed the no-cost Action Habits Challenge by Connie Ragen Green, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, independent publisher, and serial entrepreneur. You can check it out here.
If you’re interested in revitalizing your life through meditation and would like to learn a virtually risk-free, and cost-effective practice, that people of all ages can do with a little patience and guidance and that will serve you for the rest of your life, I would love to connect with you. You can connect with me here.
I’m Donna SLam, who loves to blog about how meditation brings self-compassion, peace of mind, and clarity to my life and others by sharing tips and strategies to live a fulling and purposeful life. I enjoy championing others to lead a healthy and happy life through meditation, walking, self-development, and spending time with loved ones.