We have become slaves to a perpetual hurry. Come to think of it, we don’t really have the time to do anything at leisure. We are constantly running from one task to the other. When was the last time you had a meal peacefully? By peacefully, I mean, savouring every morsel without interruption, enjoying the colours on your plate and without the constant pings of the cellphone. A little tough to remember, right? This is what happens when we are not in tandem with what our body and mind actually want. And this when mindful eating provides an insight.
What is Mindful Eating?
This is an extension of the Buddhist concept of ‘Mindfulness’ which implies listening to our mind in order to be fully aware of our physical and emotional being.
What are the benefits of mindful eating?
When we do not listen to the signals of our body, it leads to over-eating or binge-eating. We eat in such a hurry that it doesn’t allow the body to signal the brain that the stomach is full. It allows us to understand whether we are actually hungry or we are confusing ourselves with emotional signals such as stress, anxiety, boredom etc.
Let’s us take a look at a few mindful eating techniques which can help us in eating consciously:
1. Slow Down: Yes, take it easy. It might warrant some practice because we have been conditioned to rush up things. Take your time to chew properly and eat slowly. Avoid as many distractions as possible.
2. Identifying hunger signals: Learn to distinguish between various bodily signals. Are you really hungry or you want to eat just because of some emotional trigger such as sadness, loneliness or anger?
3. Develop a habit: Rather than eating at irregular hours or sitting just about anywhere, make yourself a routine. Try to eat at a fixed time and place. Switch off the TV and put away the phone. Surround yourself with happy, positive people.
4. Eat not just to fill yourself up: Do not eat just to have the hunger pangs go away. Make a conscious decision to choose healthier food options.
5. No multitasking: Do not make meal times an excuse to check emails and social media notifications. Make yourself comfortable and enjoy your meal.
6. Lose weight with mindful eating: Crash dieting might result in weight-loss in the short-term but it is generally not sustainable. When you develop a mindful eating habit, it makes the body function properly and thus helps in keeping your weight in check.
7. Not just the food: Eating mindfully is not just about the food on your plate. It is being aware of the life-cycle and processes that go into making our food.
Like with anything else, any activity when done mindfully can result in wonders. The benefits of mindful eating are many. Multitasking might be a good thing but often it intervenes with what our body wants to convey. Take it easy, slow down. Meal times should be an occasion to develop a relationship with the body, mind and food. Surround yourself will happy, positive thoughts. Isn’t what mindfulness all about? Come on, give it a try!