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Mindful eating is not a new diet or a simple lifestyle modification that will help you lose weight. It’s not about shaping your body into a more desirable shape or increasing your power, and it’s not about telling you what you should and shouldn’t consume.
What Is Mindful Eating?
Mindful eating is based on the Buddhist concept of mindfulness. Mindfulness is a type of meditation that teaches you how to detect and manage your emotions and bodily sensations. It is used to treat a wide range of problems, including eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and a variety of food-related behaviours.
Mindful eating is the practice of utilizing mindfulness to pay full attention to your eating experiences, appetites, and physical cues. To break it down even further, mindful eating has 4 qualities when you eat mindfully, you are:
- Maintaining awareness of what you’re doing and the effects it has on your body—both positive and negative.
- Using all of your senses to select and enjoy food that is both enjoyable and nourishing to your body.
- Recognizing your reactions to food based on your senses without passing judgment (e.g., like this texture, hate that taste).
- Practicing emotional and physical hunger awareness, as well as the indicators that indicate when your appetite has been satisfied.
How Can Mindful Eating Be Beneficial?
People in today’s fast-paced environment are tempted by a plethora of food options. Furthermore, distractions have redirected focus away from the act of eating and toward televisions, computers, and smartphones.
Eating has devolved into a mindless ritual that is frequently performed fast. This can be an issue because it can take up to 20 minutes for your brain to notice you’re full. If you eat too quickly, the fullness signal may not occur until you have consumed much too much food. This is a very common occurrence in binge eating. By eating thoughtfully, you refocus your attention and slow down, transforming eating into an intentional act rather than an instinctive one.
Furthermore, by improving your recognition of physical hunger and fullness cues, you can differentiate between emotional and actual physical hunger. You also become more aware of cues that make you want to eat even when you aren’t hungry. Knowing your triggers allows you to put some distance between them and your response, allowing you the time and choice to decide how to respond.
So, mindful eating allows you to differentiate between emotional and physical hunger. It also raises your awareness of food-related stimuli and allows you to select how to respond to them.
Does Mindful Eating Help With Weight Loss?
The answer is an emphatic “yes!” Mindful eating is not only beneficial to the mind, but it is also beneficial to the body.
Researchers discovered a link between attentive eating and healthy eating. Mindfulness is connected with less impulsive eating, lower calorie consumption, and healthier snack choices; additionally, the findings revealed that mindfulness is associated with a desire for healthier meals.
Another study discovered that a mindfulness-based weight loss program resulted in increased mindfulness, cognitive constraint surrounding eating, and considerable weight loss, eating disinhibition, binge eating, depression, perceived stress, physical symptoms, and negative affect.
An intervention focused on mindful eating at restaurants was found to be helpful in assisting women with weight management; women who participated in the intervention lost weight, reduced their average daily calorie intake and fat intake, and had greater diet-related self-efficacy.
6 Strategies To Build Mindful Eating
- Begin with a modest amount. It may be beneficial to keep your plate size to nine inches or smaller.
- Take time to enjoy your meal. Before you begin eating, take a moment to reflect on everything and everyone involved in bringing the dinner to your table. Express your thankfulness quietly for the opportunity to enjoy delicious cuisine and the company you’re sharing it with.
- Involve all of your senses in the meal. When cooking, serving, and consuming food, pay attention to color, texture, aroma, and even the sounds different dishes make as they cook. Try to identify all of the ingredients, including seasonings, as you chew your food.
- Eat in little bits. When your mouth isn’t full, it’s easier to taste food completely. Put your utensil down between bites.
- Take your time chewing. When you eat thoughtfully, you realize that swallowing is part of our habitual eating process nearly as soon as we place food in our mouth. When you pause and continue chewing, you break down the meal more and combine it with saliva better, helping digestion and allowing you to absorb nutrients more effectively.
- Take your time eating. If you follow the recommendations above, you will not be able to lock your food down. Before you start chatting with your tablemates, devote at least five minutes to mindful eating.