Be honest. In the last week, how many times did you look down at your plate or bowl and say to yourself, “Hey! Where did my food go? Did I really eat all of it? I barely remember tasting it.” Did you do it once? Twice? More times than you can count? If you are like a lot of people, you know exactly how this particular situation feels. Unfortunately, this also likely means that you are overweight too as this way of eating tends to lead to higher calorie consumptions and poorer food choices, making mindful eating even more critical to finally meeting your weight loss goals. What is mindful eating?
Mindful Eating Defined Mindful eating is when you are truly and wholeheartedly engaged in the eating process. In other words, you are doing nothing other than eating and you are paying full and complete attention to every bite of food that you place in your mouth.The benefits of mindful eating include an easier time managing your weight and greater satisfaction after consuming meals and snacks. It also helps your brain realize that you have actually eaten something, which generally results in being happier even though you start desiring smaller amounts of food. Ultimately, these things added together make it easier to reach your goal weight while also making the process more enjoyable too. Perhaps the greatest advantage of mindful eating is that you feel more in control over your food as opposed to feeling as if it is controlling you. Ready to sign up and learn how to mindfully eat? Great! Let’s get into that now.
How to Practice Mindful Eating Mindful eating requires that you be fully present during the eating experience. Therefore, you want to turn off the television, step away from the computer, sit down your smartphone, and do nothing other than eat.To do this, it often helps to designate an eating area so that your brain realizes that when you’re in it, you’re to do nothing other than concentrate on the foods you are consuming. At home, this is likely going to be your dining room table. At work, you may choose a particular table in your break room or eating area for which to eat your meals.One of the most mindless places to eat is in your car while running errands or grabbing a quick lunch. While there may be times that this cannot be avoided, try to limit these occurrences as much as possible. Or, at a minimum, at least stop your vehicle and park so that you can pay full attention to the foods you are putting in your mouth.The goal of mindful eating is to experience eating from as many different levels as possible. Ideally, when you are eating then, you want to use all of your senses. To help you with this, here are some questions you may want to ask yourself: What textures does the food have? Is it soft or hard, crunchy or smooth? Is it salty, sour, or sweet? What spices does it contain? How does it smell? Is it visually appealing? What sounds does it make? Can I hear it when I cut or bite into it? To answer these questions requires that you take small, intentional bites, contemplating each one and noticing how you feel before, during, and after putting it into your mouth. Actually, it isn’t at all uncommon for someone new to the mindful eating experience to realize that they don’t even like certain foods that they’ve been eating for ages. Therefore, be prepared to learn some amazing things about yourself during this journey. Also, be prepared to exhibit some patience.
Be Patient With Yourself If you have been mindless eating for some or all of your life, then it is realistically going to take some time for you to get used to eating mindfully. Plus, in a world that seems to stress moving faster, it can sometimes be hard to slow yourself down initially in order to gain the most from this experience. Rest assured though, as long as you keep working at it, you will soon develop the skills necessary to eat mindfully, allowing you to enjoy the many benefits of this way of living without much thought at all.
We’d love to hear your experiences while practicing mindful eating, so please feel free to share them below!