We often hear about the importance of mindful eating as an antidote to overeating, emotional eating and distracted eating – but how does it actually work? We’ll be diving into a few simple ways you can engage in this practise known to boost mental and physical health.
Mindful eating is a simple practice that can help you develop a healthier relationship with food – and it costs you nothing. Rather than eating on autopilot, mindful eating involves paying attention to the experience of eating and staying present in the moment. This allows you to better appreciate the flavours and textures of your food, become more attuned to your body's appetite signals and make more informed choices about what you put on your plate.
One major aspect of mindful eating is being aware of what you’re actually eating – with heavily-processed foods, we often have no idea what we’re putting in our bodies, from chemicals to added sugars. One way to reduce our consumption of harmful ingredients is to quit added sugar and limit the consumption of processed foods. Added sugar is a major contributor to the obesity epidemic and can also cause a variety of health problems such as heart disease and low mood, which can in turn contribute to our emotional eating. Let’s dive into how you can get started with mindful eating in just 5 steps.
One of the key elements of mindful eating is to eat slowly and savour each bite. Take a moment to appreciate the flavours and textures of your food, paying attention to how it makes you feel and if it triggers any emotional response – after all, many of us use food to soothe difficult emotions or stave off boredome. Noting the feelings that arise can help give you a better idea of your triggers and a good place to start healing in your mental health journey. Being aware of how food affects your emotions – and vice versa – can also help you avoid overeating and make more informed choices.
Listen to your body’s signals
Eating mindfully involves staying in tune with your body – listen out for signs of fullness or hunger and respond accordingly. You don’t have to force yourself to finish dinner if you’re feeling full, simply pop it in the fridge and use the leftovers the next day. Many of us feel pressure to follow a particular structure, whether it works for our body or not. That’s why mindful eating flips the script and involves listening to our body instead – eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full. This can help prevent mindless snacking.
Choose whole foods
Rather than eating mainly ultra-processed foods that are often loaded with added sugar – and you might be surprised that many brands of cereal and bread fall under this category – opt for whole foods such like fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. These foods are not only more nutritious, but they’re also more satiating, meaning you’ll be less likely to raid the fridge after midnight.
Avoid distractions while eating
Eating while distracted with the TV or a video on your phone can lead to mindless eating and overeating. Instead, focus on the experience of eating to keep yourself in the moment.
We can improve our relationship with food by taking a moment to appreciate the nourishment it offers and express gratitude for the nutrients and energy it provides. This can not only help you slow down and stay in the present moment, but it can also encourage you to make healthier food choices.
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So, if you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it, it’s not too late to join. We’d love to help you get started on your health journey. Sign up HERE today!