How To Eat Mindfully
Sitting down to eat dinner in front of the TV or gobbling down your lunch at your desk probably doesn't seem like a big deal. The efficiency of fuelling our bodies whilst doing other tasks tends to make sense, but given that food brings so much joy to many, learning how to eat mindfully not only increases the pleasure of a universally loved activity, but can also help regulate weight and improve your mood.
At its core, mindful eating follows the same principles of all other aspects of mindfulness; paying attention to the present moment. When it comes to eating, it's extremely easy to become distracted from the behaviour - whether that's because you're watching TV, working on a project, or otherwise occupying your mind space with anything but your meal. When we don't pay attention to what we eat it's easy to over-eat and ignore physical cues when eating, which as a result leads to regular cravings. Here are our tops tip to introduce mindfulness to your eating.
Eat slowly and without distraction. Try to make sure each meal is consumed in a dedicated space, away from the TV, your phone, or laptop.
Stop eating when you're full. When we're distracted it can be easy to ignore a stretched belly, and sometimes the more-ish nature of food (especially snacks like crisps and biscuits) can be more powerful than our bodies telling us we've had enough. Try to encourage the habit of taking a moment to listen to where your body's at before reaching for a second helping.
Listen to hunger cues. Sometimes we're not actually hungry at all, but bored, or thirsty, or in a certain emotional state. Learn to recognise when you're actually hungry, versus when you're not. Likewise, sometimes we ignore our hunger cues, which leads to over-eating later on. Becoming in-sync with our bodies is key to mindful eating.
Engage your senses. When eating, notice the smell, texture, and flavour of what you're eating. Focusing on your senses increases satisfaction, and quells the need for a second helping because you've experienced it fully the first time around.
Eat for your health, as well as for pleasure. Learning about the science of food and how it can fuel our bodies to be healthy and strong can help improve the relationship we have with our main meals. Opting for more fruit and vegetables, and high-fibre, unprocessed food will leave you feeling better physically and mentally, and alleviate any guilt when you opt for a treat day.
Appreciate your food. Understanding where your food has come from can increase your gratefulness for the sheer ability to eat such a varied diet; find out where your vegetables were grown, where your fruit originated from, which country grew your coffee beans, truly taking a moment to appreciate your privilege to eat what you want, when you want.
Do you have any tips on eating mindfully? We'd love to hear them; email us at firstname.lastname@example.org