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Eating mindfully is a major aspect of the practice of ‘mindfulness’ which addresses our relationship with what we eat and enhances the mind-body connection better. This helps to make healthy choices and being aware when feeling full and satiated, thereby making us less likely to overeat.
Mindful eating is about elevating one’s mindfulness of food experiences, cravings, and physical cues when eating.
Ever wondered about reaching out for a piece of chocolate or a packet of chips even though you were not really hungry or were full but feeling anxious?
This happens more often than you think as eating mindlessly plagues many of us, resulting in overeating and adverse effect on health. Therefore, by understanding and practising mindful eating, one can combat these harmful habits and improve their relationship with food.
As it is important to work while you work, it is equally essential to only eat while you eat which means eating without any distraction. Focusing on the appearance, smell, taste and texture of the food we eat, and chewing slowly without the distraction of driving, work or screens, increases awareness of satiety and appreciation of the food itself, which in turn empowers one to feel more in control of their eating and less likely to binge or overeat.
Chewing slowly and taking small bites can help and so can using smaller utensils. Another technique is to sit while you’re eating and avoid eating on the run or while travelling in a vehicle. These tips will help you spend longer times with your meal, help you stay full and enhance mindfulness.
Try to be fully present in the moment when eating and limit screen time or other distractions by turning off the TV and putting away cell phones/electronic devices while eating. You could also consider having your meals with friends and family as enjoying a meal with others increases mindfulness and is also a lovely shared experience.
Mindfulness post-meal is also very important and involves paying attention to how one feels after eating which helps in tuning better with the body and modify habits when required. Viewing every meal as a learning experience so that one can nourish themselves better next time is also part of mindful eating.
A practice of mindfulness can reap great benefits when practised regularly for the long term. This practice does not require much modification in one’s lifestyle and in fact, improves gut health. Mindful eating not only increases your experience and satisfaction while eating but can also improve digestion and inculcate healthy eating habits.