Mindful eating is all about taking the time to love yourself and respect your body. Seen in this light, it becomes a powerful spiritual force, one that will evolve you into the best version of yourself.
What Is Mindful Eating & How It Works?
Timing, Discipline, and most importantly Awareness… These are the three ingredients that go into making the perfect mindful eating lifestyle.
- You are NOT reacting by instinct when it comes to your diet.
- You are NOT choosing to put into your body that makes you feel comfortable.
- You are NOT going to eat whatever you want, whenever you want, assuming that you have a supernatural metabolism.
- You are NOT going to say, “I’m going to start working out next month, so eating whatever now isn’t going to be an issue.”
Not your Average Dining Routine
Carefully understand the true definition of mindful eating…
- It has nothing to do with simply buying healthy food and creating a diet regimen around it.
- This ‘lifestyle’ involves you taking anywhere from several seconds to a couple of minutes actually being aware of each and every item you buy.
- It does not stop there. In fact, you need to become aware of where you store each grocery item you bought.
- You then need to grow aware of what you have chosen for that day’s meal.
- Next, you pay attention to the food as it cooks.
- You remain aware of the food on the plate and your choice of this or that as you ferry it to your mouth.
- You feel the taste, the texture, the crumble, the softness, the essence…
- All the while, you bear in mind that healthy foods are part of your diet. By extension, you factor in the ideal amount of calories before preparing each meal.
In short, you sincerely and intentionally savor everything about your diet, from shelf to belly. This is the core promise of mindful eating, and its benefits are nothing short of extraordinary.
Advantages of Mindful Eating
Studies have observed how positively such a lifestyle influences your energy levels and mood. You can personally experience it for yourself instead of just Googling sundry studies on the matter.
During this process, keep your senses piqued for:-
- Marked reductions in stress and anxiety.
- Making increasingly healthier choices concerning the food you consume on a daily basis.
- Eating slower, and therefore improving digestion.
- Observing your past, when you looked to this or that food purely for comfort, and that you now realize was bad for you. This inspires a personal revelation like none other.
- Feeling much fuller, with no hunger pangs, even though you’re eating less than you’re used to.
- Learning every stage of where your food came from. It’s a source, pre-shelf, to-shelf, to-basket, to-fridge…This improves your personal connection to that which you put in your belly.
- Finally, in addition to eating healthy, you gain actual pleasure from the act of eating.
This is the difference between foodies and everyone else. You enjoy your food, and it imparts an unmatched sense of personal fulfillment.
Practical Approach to Mindful Eating
You are going to have to stop daydreaming, worrying about the day’s plans, and stressing out over who’s texting you. Mindful eating begins from the moment you start preparing your meals to the point when you serve them, either for your own dining pleasure, the family’s, or that of friends. This mindfulness also unravels when you’re out shopping or ordering at a restaurant/hotel.
Step 1: For Your Consideration
Start the exercise by considering the health potential that is in each of the ingredients and/or products you have at hand, ready to cook. The more natural the food item, the more wholesome it is; as Nature intended.
Step 2: All Senses Tingling
Shopping, preparation, serving, dining… You need to be aware of all things food-related throughout.
- Feel the food – appearance, smell, texture, sound – as you cut, dice, boil, fry, or whatever you have planned to do with it.
- Maintain an ideal posture while eating, and feel the taste of the food you made.
- Tune out the world around you as you taste, and chew with intention before swallowing.
- The ‘Eating Experience’ has to be prioritized, so make sure you have mild music playing in the background, but absolutely no TV/Movies.
- How does each taste/smell make you feel?
- How hungry do you feel before eating? How much so after you’re done? Observe yourself, appreciate the fact that you are choosing to be healthy.
- Be open-minded, be extra-receptive… Let yourself feel the food, meaning learning how precisely the food makes you feel. Bored, satisfied, exhilarated, amused…?
Step 3: Ritualize Your Dining
More than looking at the plate (how full it is, how not so), make sure you put your spoon/fork/knife down between bites and experience the sensation of the food in your mouth, and the way it makes you feel once you’ve swallowed.
- As with most things in life, you need to look within. In the case of mindful eating, you need to feel what goes within you.
- Gratitude is the crux of life. It attracts good things to you and keeps negativity at bay. Be grateful for the food you have on your plate.
- Thank the Universe, or whatever you believe in. If you are inclined otherwise, thank the source of your food: who made them, the animals/plants that made it possible, the people that brought it to a store near you…
- Pondering the origins of your diet will help you make increasingly sustainable lifestyle choices.
Whether you’re eating alone or with the company, make sure you are mindful. Not about your surroundings, though they do need your attention as well. But give a majority percentage of your focus to the food on your plate: its taste, where it came from, the way you feel with each bite or slurp.
This is what mindful eating is all about. Maybe at first, you will feel nothing but awkward silence. That’s perfectly alright. Keep the exercise going with due diligence and, sooner rather than later, you will drop into a personal almost-spiritual experience concerning your food. You will take yourself by surprise as to how good it makes you feel.