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  • Writer's picturealma wellbeing

Eat Your Food not Your Feelings

Mindful Eating Practice

We often eat because the food is there or other people chew on something we don’t even need. We eat while wholly lost in our favorite Netflix series or order something quickly influenced by a social media ad.

Mindful eating is a practice that encourages individuals to pay full attention to their eating experience while focusing on how the physical body responds to that food. It involves being present in the moment while consuming food and making deliberate choices about what, when, and how you eat.

Integrating mindful eating practices into your lifestyle can help you manage your health and weight and reduce unhealthy eating habits leading to weight gain, diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol levels.

Eating with Awareness

The first step towards mindful eating is to eat slowly and deliberately, savoring each bite. This means being fully present during your meal and avoiding distractions like smartphones, television, or work.

In a recently attended workshop, “they made us look at the food and observe what was on our plate before we ate it. Focused on observing the quantity, shapes, and colors. Next, we took a spoon of our meal instead of gulping it down. We took a few moments to become completely familiar with the taste and the texture”.

Listening to Your Body

Pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness signals. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when satisfied, rather than following external cues like portion sizes or societal pressures. Become aware of how different foods make you feel. Do you feel more energized or groggy after eating a particular food? Do you feel satisfied, or do you still feel hungry even after eating that food?

Respecting Your Food

Reduce food waste. Cook what you need, and give it to someone in need if there is extra food. “I hardly ever finish a meal when I’m in a restaurant, so I pack my untouched food for later or give it to someone who would enjoy it”. Consider where your food comes from, the effort it took to produce, and the resources involved. This awareness can foster gratitude and a deeper connection to your food.

Emotional Eating Awareness

Don’t eat because you are sad, frustrated, or bored. Recognize emotional triggers that may lead to overeating or unhealthy food choices. Mindful eating encourages you to address emotions constructively rather than using food as a coping mechanism.

Portion Control

Become comfortable with healthy portions. Be mindful of portion sizes. Eating mindfully can help prevent overeating by allowing you to recognize when you’ve had enough. Mindful eating can help those with binge eating disorders by promoting self-awareness and control over impulsive eating behaviors.

Benefits of mindful eating

Weight Management

Eating more slowly and paying attention to fullness cues makes you less likely to overeat, which can aid in weight management.

Improved Digestion

Mindfully eating can enhance digestion because your body is better prepared to process food when relaxed and focused.

Enhanced Enjoyment of Food

Make your meals more enjoyable and satisfying as you fully engage with the sensory experience of eating.

Better Relationship with Food

It can help you break free from restrictive diets and develop a healthier relationship with food.

Increased Self-Awareness

It promotes greater awareness of your body’s needs and how different foods make you feel.

Practicing mindful eating is a skill that can be developed over time with patience and practice. It can lead to a more balanced and healthy approach to food and eating, fostering a greater connection between your mind and body.

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