Mindful Eating for Better Health

As we approach the holiday season, eating habits can get messy, and this can quickly lead to weight gain.

We’ve been conditioned to think that it’s the season to indulge, however, in this day and age while struggling to keep a balanced lifestyle, we need to be mindful about any activity we undertake, especially eating.

What is mindful eating?

We came across the term “mindful eating,” which is explained as “paying attention to an eating experience with all of our senses (seeing, tasting, hearing, smelling, feeling); witnessing the emotional and physical responses that take place before, during and after the eating experience”. It is believed that when all our senses are aware we can better appreciate the taste of fresher, healthier foods and avoid mindless eating. Check out our series about living more mindfully.

Although there is little research into mindful eating, a few studies have shown that eating slower and being more thoughtful about food at meal times can help with weight problems. We are all familiar with the “mind-gut connection” – the time it takes for the brain to register when one is full, which is about 20 minutes – a natural instinct which we seem to have lost. Knowing when one is hungry and when one is full is the most basic of weight gain/ loss lessons. Obviously, if one eats mindlessly, by the time the message gets to your brain that you have overeaten, you’ve already gobbled down your meal and might not even remember how the meal tasted or smelled. The saying “a minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips” comes to mind!

Kickstart your mindful eating

Experts suggest that you start mindful eating gradually, eating one meal a day or week in a slower and more attentive manner:

  • Set your kitchen timer for 20 minutes and take that time to eat a normal-sized meal.
  • Try eating with your non-dominant hand; if you’re a righty, hold your fork in your left hand when lifting food to your mouth.
  • Use chopsticks if you don’t normally use them.
  • Eat silently for five minutes, thinking about what it took to produce that meal – from the sun’s rays to the farmer to the grocer to the cook.
  • Take small bites and chew well.
  • Before opening the fridge or cabinet, take a breath and ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?” Do something else, like reading or going for a short walk instead.

Some experts also believe that practising mindful eating helps us to be more conscious of what we eat, thus making it easier to stay clear of processed foods and unhealthy food choices. At Abundance Wholesome Foods, we recommend you try mindful eating and eating real food – preferably organic –and notice if you feel better. We have a sneaking suspicion you will. Let us know!

Disclaimer: External information referenced is for purposes of this article and does not imply partnership or association with the organisation or its specific view point.

References:

https://psychprofessionals.com.au/mindful-eating/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/mindful-eating-may-help-with-weight-loss

4 thoughts on “Mindful Eating for Better Health”

  1. Thanks for this article! In addition to asking if I’m hungry, I find it helpful to ask “what am I really hungry for?”. Usually I’m longing for self-compassion and/or meaningful human connection, but I’m using food to numb/avoid those emotional needs

    Reply

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