How To Practice Mindful Eating

Are you struggling with your eating habits? If you have a family to take care of, a demanding job, or are hindered by any of life’s other distractions, it might be easy to not care about what you eat. Unfortunately, this can expose you to all kinds of dietary problems, such as weight gain and heart disease.

You can easily avoid developing these issues by practicing mindful eating. Interestingly, this is one of the most common online mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) practices. In this article, we’ll give a few tips on how you can practice mindful eating.

What Is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating is a form of meditation based on mindfulness. The practice helps you be aware of your emotions and physical feelings so that you can handle them better. People use mindfulness to deal with many conditions, such as eating disorders, anxiety, stress, depression, and food-related habits. Mindful eating incorporates the practice of mindfulness into mealtimes, so people can recognize and deal with their eating habits, physical cues, and cravings.

Why You Should Practice Mindful Eating

In our modern society, things like television, smartphones, computers, and video games might be diverting your attention from the act of eating. That’s why mealtimes have become a quick and mindless event for many people. Worryingly, this can result in overeating because it takes your brain about twenty minutes to realize your stomach is fully satisfied.

Mindful eating encourages you to focus on the act of slow eating so you can know when you’re full. It works by nurturing your awareness to a point where you can recognize cues of physical hunger and fullness.

The process of mindful eating seeks to reduce overconsumption by making every meal an intentional act rather than a reflex.

How Do I Practice Mindful Eating?

Another benefit of mindful eating is that it will help you distinguish between emotional and physical hunger. You can achieve this by noticing your food-related triggers; since once you know what your triggers are, you’ll be equipped with the liberty to decide how to respond to them.

Here are some helpful guidelines to follow when practicing mindful eating.

Allow Your Body To Pull Alongside Your Brain

Instead of eating past the point when you’re full, paying no attention to your body’s cues, you should slow down the pace at which you eat, as this will allow your brain and body to work together to trigger a proper satisfaction cue. When there is harmonious communication between your body and brain, you won’t overeat. The easiest way to slow down your eating is to follow traditional table manners, like sitting down to eat, chewing every bite at least twenty-five times, and setting your cutlery down between bites. It’s also easier to eat slowly when you remove distractions, like television, video games, newspapers, computers, and phones at meals.

Understand Your Hunger Cues

Make sure you know the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. You can do this by listening to your body. Emotional hunger is usually caused by stress, frustrations, anxiety, sadness, boredom, and even loneliness. When you get this type of hunger, you must listen to your body before starting to eat. Physical hunger is characterized by low energy, a growling stomach, and lightheadedness. By remembering these signals, you will know when it’s the right time to eat; when your body actually needs sustenance, rather than when you want to eat to block out an emotion.

Cultivate A Mindful Eating Environment

If you eat regularly alone, try to start eating with other people at set mealtimes and places. If you eat at random times throughout the day, it increases the risk of overeating. But when you have a regular daily schedule and stick to it, you will be able to develop healthy environmental signals about what goods to eat and how much.

Know Your Motivations

You must distinguish between which foods are emotionally comforting and which ones are nutritionally healthy. Although there are foods that will nourish your health and satisfy your cravings, you must ignore your emotional hunger signals and focus on supplying your body with healthy nutrients. This practice will help you avoid binge eating your comfort foods and leave you feeling more inclined to eat healthily.

Develop Deeper Connection With Your Food

Don’t just look at food as an end product. Take your time to consider where it comes from and the effect it will have on your body. This mindful process helps you connect deeply with your food so that you can enjoy it and exercise responsible eating.

In summary, mindful eating practices will help you develop careful eating habits that will, in turn, improve your overall health.

For further reading, check out our other articles like “What is the Point of Meditation?” or "Best Online Meditation".