Mindful eating is not a new concept, but it’s certainly not enough explored. While everyone worries WHAT they eat and how much they eat, mindful eating tells us that we should in fact pay attention to HOW we eat. Read on to find out more about this Buddhist “anti-diet” practice and learn how you can insert it into your daily lifestyle.
When starting a diet or just trying to eat better, everybody worries about the way they mix foods or the size of their portions. A rather new school of thought – supporting mindful eating – teaches us that what really matters is our ATTITUDE towards food. The moment when you start eating, what you do (or don’t do) while enjoying your meal or who joins you are factors that can influence your relation with food and, taking it a step further, your weight and overall well-being.
“Mindfulness” is the oriental concept behind mindful eating and while it may sound complicated, it actually translates into attention, care, involvement. It is not an all-or-nothing type of process, you can start practicing mindful eating at any time and put in as much effort as you want. All you need to remember is that it doesn’t have to involve changes in your meal plan, it just requires a bit of consciousness. You pay attention to your car or smartphone, why not your food?
If reading this article hasn’t yet convinced you to try mindful eating, let me break down some ground rules for you. You’ll see how easy it is to just set out one morning with a new goal in mind.
1. Eat when your body tells you to eat
All you need to do is eat because your body needs nourishment, not because you are bored, stressed or just want to take a break. Eating because your friends are eating is not an option, the best hunger signal comes from your body, so learn to listen.
2. Eat in silenceI know it may seem hard, but try to focus on your food and not your conversation. You’ll savor it better and maybe even eat less (although it’s not that important).
3. Eat away from the TV/smartphoneThey only distract you! Please remember the last time you ate in front of the TV – do you know what the food was? Exactly! Just try eating at your kitchen table, not on the couch! It will do wonders for your posture as well.
4. Eat slowly
Your mom was right when she told you to chew! Taking the time to savor your food is one of the healthiest things you can do: you are more likely to notice when you are full, digest easily and last, but not least, notice the flavor.
5. Pay attention
To your plate, to the flavor, to the origin of the food. They all matter and they all influence the way you relate to food. A crisp red tomato, a creamy avocado or a crunchy apple – don’t they all taste better when you acknowledge them and their benefits?
I hope these basic rules help you on your path to mindful eating, but in the end there is one thing I need you to remember: it is all a simple commitment to appreciating and enjoying the food you eat every day. You can apply mindfulness to eating a carrot cake, a salad or even your favorite pizza and it it’s more fun when it’s not a one player game: involve your family, friends or colleagues. I am sure they will all appreciate the new found tastes!
Until next time, stay healthy & happy,