Mindful eating is not a form of diet. It uses a form of meditation called mindfulness that helps you acknowledge and manage emotions and physical sensations. Using a mindful eating approach will help you reach a state of complete awareness of your eating experiences, cravings and physical cues.
- Every living creature on this planet has to eat to find nourishment. But for humans to eat and to find nourishment stand out as two separate things. As a child, we are told to eat to gain energy when we feel short of it. Eating helps us to be in a good mood and overcome that grumpy feeling when we are hungry. Nowadays, food is readily available in a readymade manner such that we tend to eat more than necessary and end up overeating without realizing it. Another factor that leads to unnecessary over-eating is distracted eating. We can suffer from distracted eating when our full attention is not on eating and nourishing our bodies. A few of them to mention:
- eating while watching television
- eating while reading
- eating while engaging in a conversation
- eating while listening to music.
A study of Television watchers published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology found that the more they were in a TV show, the more they tended to eat. Overeating leads to overweight, laziness and disease like diabetes and heart diseases when in extreme.
When you pay attention to every bite of food you consume, you’re using food as a tool to stop yourself from being distracted from uncomfortable emotions of past or future by just being in the present. It is essential to be aware of what you eat, when you eat and be in the present when you eat. Mindful eating helps us to be aware of what we put in our mouths, realize the taste and flavour of the food that we often leave unnoticed. Also we must realize when we are full or when we do not need to eat more and to eat without judging others with you.
Mindful eating involves:
- becoming aware of your presence with the food
- accepting there is no particular way to eat
- recognizing there are varying degrees of awareness around the eating of food
- accepting that everyone has a unique eating experience
- directing your attention to eating on a present moments’ basis
- recognizing how you make choices that support everyone’s well-being
- becoming aware of mother nature’s blessing on you for the food on your plate
Once you have got in the habit of doing these, mindful eating will become more natural.
There are a lot of benefits to eating mindfully. Studies have shown that mindful eating can help reduce both emotional eating and bingeing. Some studies have reported that mindful eating can reduce physiological distress such as depression, anxiety, stress and eating behaviour.
So, what is the difference between mindful eating and other popular diets?
Despite focusing on restricting calories like dieting, mindful eating is a habit that helps to improve the body’s natural ability to control eating behaviour. By encouraging awareness of eating habits, you restore your attention and slow down, making eating an intentional act rather than an automatic one.
Click here to discover 12 expert Strategies for Mindful Eating.