How do you have your breakfast? While reading a newspaper? While scrolling through news apps on your phone? While watching TV? Or, just running out of the house in a rush with either grabbing something like an apple or nothing?
How does your day proceed? Stressful mornings? Skipped or late lunches? Half of the time forgetting if you ate something or not?
If you have nodded a yes for any of the above questions, this article is for you.
What is Mindful Eating?
Mindful eating is a Buddhist concept that helps you in understanding the value of the food you eat and what that food is doing to your body and you. Mindful eating is like meditation but to appreciate the goodness of what you are eating.
Irrespective of who we are and what we do, our lives have become a constant hustle to make end meets. This hustle is all about earning a living to be able to fend for ourselves and ironically, that’s what we overlook while getting caught in this vicious circle of hustling!
Mindful eating is a practice that makes you aware of the food you are eating and what your body is demanding by understanding your hunger cues and pangs.
Every time you feel a hunger pang, you don’t need to fill yourself up with food. More often than not these hunger pangs are due to reducing water levels in your body. Are you amazed? Well, this is what practicing mindful eating teaches you about your body and digestive system.
Why Mindful Eating?
The everyday hustle has reduced eating to a thoughtless activity. People are so busy running according to the clock that it has become a mechanical act to fill their bodies with food during lunch breaks or tea time in offices. People are so pressed for time that eating has become a rushed activity. People have mastered the art of finishing a meal in less than 10 minutes! Have you ever stopped and wondered that this is what you keep hustling for and you don’t even spend 30 minutes in a day to appreciate what’s on your plate?
This rushed and mindless eating has grave repercussions on the human digestive system and the body. A rushed meal means faster deglutition which results in overeating or binge eating in a majority of the cases. The faster deglutition means you are not chewing your food properly which ends in the inefficient absorption of nutrients from what you are eating.
During office lunch breaks, have you felt that you have eaten too much or too less? It takes 20 minutes for the brain to understand that you are full. If you have a rushed meal you either end up eating more than your capacity or indulge in binge eating every half an hour.
By practicing mindful eating you slow down the deglutition thereby making yourself and your brain aware of what you are putting inside rather than just dumping it in. Slowing down the eating process makes it an intentional act instead of a forced activity. It helps you in distinguishing between the actual and false hunger pangs along with making you aware of your bodily requirements.
Benefits of Mindful Eating
Practicing mindful eating can do wonders to your health and body. Some of the benefits of mindful eating are, it:
- Improves digestion
- Helps in better absorption of nutrients
- Makes the metabolism healthy
- Aids in weight management
- Reduces over-eating
- Reduces food cravings
- Can help with depression
- Felicitates healthy eating
- Prevents binge eating
- Makes you enjoy your food
How to Practice Mindful Eating?
Practicing mindful eating can be a little tough in the beginning but it is absolutely doable. Here are a few things that will help you in following mindful eating:
- Turn off from all sorts of distractions while eating. No TV, no laptop and no phone.
- Concentrate on what is on your plate. Make yourself aware of the food you are eating.
- Don’t eat in a rush. Sit down properly at a table and chew your food slowly.
- Take at least 20 minutes to finish each of your big meals.
- Enjoy the flavour and taste of the food you are eating.
- Get aware of hunger and when you begin to feel full.
- Stop eating the moment you start feeling you are full.
- Focus on your meal.
These might seem simple to follow or adopt, but when you start practicing mindful eating, you will realize that it isn’t as easy as it seems. However, don’t give up because, once you start practicing it, the results are amazing. Start with one meal. Eat that one meal mindfully every day and when you feel you have mastered the art of mindful eating with that one meal, you will automatically inculcate the habit of mindfully eating your rest of the meals.