Food has become more abundant than ever before and unsurprisingly, obesity rates are on the rise. At the same time, our lives have become so fast-paced that while we are eating, our emotional and physiological satisfaction is often an afterthought. Consequently, when it comes to eating well many people are either not eating enough or eating way too much.
The struggle is very real. Navigating meal times within a busy schedule can be challenging.
When it comes to nutrition, one’s own specific needs and solutions are highly individualized. It is because of this that seeking professional, tailored care is ultimately best. There is one promising technique in particular however, that may be good to start in an effort to tackle this growing problem, whether weight loss is an intended goal or not.
Enter Mindful Eating.
What is Mindful Eating?
Mindful Eating is an extension of the practice of mindfulness. A quick Google search will tell you that mindfulness is a mental state. It is achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations.
Becoming more aware of what we are choosing to eat; why, where and how; helps us to channel our focus to our present eating experience. Acknowledging these factors contributes to our satisfaction with food and can help us to re-acquaint ourselves with natural hunger cues, as well as enable us to make more appropriate food choices, including portion-size.
As a result, mindful eating has been linked to a host of positive outcomes, including an improved meal satisfaction, decreased episodes of binge eating, decreased non-hunger eating, sustained weight management and even improved blood sugar control. All of these outcomes help to improve one’s overall health, and are more desirable by both dieters and non-dieters alike, who struggle with achieving an overall satisfaction in their food choices.
How to do it:
Here are some ideas on how to start incorporating Mindful Eating techniques at meal times:
- Focus on the taste of your food.
- Take smaller bites.
- Do not eat straight from the packaging.
- Avoid technological distractions (ie. do not eat in front of the TV).
- Chew more in between bites.
- Eat while sitting down at a table.
- Eat on a normal-sized dinner plate (10” wide).
- Eat with your non-dominant hand.
It’s important to understand that this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Mindful Eating. As mentioned before, health needs and nutrition solutions are highly individualized, so consulting a professional is always recommended.
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