Written by MindMate Staff
Eat this, not that. Swap this, for that. Don’t eat that, eat more of this. There’s no end to the torrent of healthy eating advice concerning what we eat, but have you ever thought about the way you eat? What if we could eat healthier by considering not just the food we eat, but the way we consume it? Well that’s exactly what some experts believe, and it all stems from the idea of ‘mindfulness’.
Mindfulness is about being present and aware in every small activity that we do. It helps us to focus and remove stress by minimizing distraction.
Ordinarily, eating is a mindless activity. For most of us it involves hastily munching food as we rush between meetings, social engagements or activities, or being so hungry our food barely touches our mouth as we wolf it down. Oftentimes, even when we sit down to eat, we’re distracted by conversation at the table, or the television, or by what’s happening on our smartphone screen.
Eating mindlessly could be affecting your health more than you even realize. When we’re not being mindful, we don’t fully consider the size of the portions we’re eating, the nutritional value of the food we’re eating, or whether we’re even hungry.
Mindless eating can lead to bad habits like overeating, eating when we’re not hungry, and eating more unhealthy foods. Mindful eating, on the other hand, is about being aware of what you’re eating and how much, what it tastes like and feels like, and how it makes you feel. Practicing mindfulness at mealtimes can provide a more enjoyable, healthier and more satisfying experience.
Here’s some useful tips on how you can eat mindfully:
• When you first sit down, take a good look at your plate, notice all the different foods you’re about to eat, and the different flavors and food groups.
• When you take each forkful, chew slowly and allow yourself to be aware of the different flavors and textures of the food in your mouth.
• Take the time to chew properly and swallow the food in manageable chunks, before reaching for another forkful.
• After a few mouthfuls, take a pause to listen to your body and see if you still feel hungry.
• When you feel full, put down your fork and finish eating.
Eating in this way won’t always be possible, of course. Oftentimes we eat together with others or need to eat quickly when on the go. The important thing is to get used to practicing mindfulness and include it in your eating wherever you can. Over time, you’ll be surprised by how much of a difference the small act of changing how much you eat can make to your overall health and wellness.