Mindfulness is the quality and the practice of becoming fully present to our lives in the moment. Eating perhaps lends itself to mindfulness practice more than any other activity as we find the flavours we experience when we eat both interesting and varied, and the act of eating enjoyable.
In other words, mindful eating is all about being aware of how we feel when we eat. Mindful eating can lead to having a greater awareness of how and why you are eating. This enhanced awareness can reduce ‘mindless eating’ and subsequently help with weight management.
So many people diet over and over again throughout their lives, which can be very damaging. When you restrict yourself, you don’t feel well because you aren’t feeding yourself well. We can also, at times, develop bad habits in connection with food and the act of eating. These bad habits, some even considered disorders, can cause us a lot of suffering.
Mindful eating isn’t a recent practice. Its roots lie in the ancient Buddhist and Zen traditions. In essence, it is eating with attention and intention. The attention is focused on the whole experience of eating, while the intention is to savour the experience with all your senses and full presence.
Mindful eating as an alternative can reframe your relationship with food, without deprivation.
Here are some tips on how to eat the foods you love but in a more mindful way.
Don’t eat on the go and avoid eating while watching TV or while you are stressed and have a million things going on. You should also avoid distractions while eating. When we are distracted, we cannot fully pay attention to our body’s signals.
Find a comfortable place to eat and keep your phone away from your meals. Turn off the TV and allow your body to get into a fully relaxed state, which is critical for proper digestion.
Always chew your food well
There is a magic number to guide you to how many times you must chew your food. It’s 32! Which is equal to the number of teeth an adult human has.
Stop eating when you’re full
Ask yourself why you’re eating, whether you’re truly hungry, and whether the food you choose is healthy.
Use all your senses
To fully experience your food and drinks, you should observe the smells, textures, sounds, colours and tastes. Ask yourself how much you’re enjoying the food and how appealing it is.
Choose modest portions
To avoid overeating, eat small bites and chew them slowly. Appreciate that your food fills you up and makes you healthy.