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Mindful Eating: Tips for Developing a Healthy Relationship with Food

Mindful eating is the practice of being present while eating and paying attention to hunger and fullness cues. In this article, we will share our tips for developing a healthy relationship with food by practicing mindful eating.

Aarushi Chadha
What is Mindful eating? It focuses on an individual's eating experiences, thoughts and feelings about food
What is Mindful eating? It focuses on an individual's eating experiences, thoughts and feelings about food

Mindful eating is the practice of being aware of the food and drink you put into your body. It involves constantly being aware of how the food makes you feel and the signals your body sends about taste, satisfaction, and fullness. It can extend to the process of buying, preparing, and serving your food as well as consuming it.

The practice of mindful eating is gaining popularity because eating while doing something else, like working or watching television, can lead to unhealthy habits as we are not focusing on what we are eating, the way the food tastes, or savouring the food. Studies show that mindless eating can cause people to develop unhealthy eating habits, such as eating when not hungry.

How to practice mindful eating?

In order to practice mindful eating, it is important to remove distractions and eat with all your attention. It is advised to practice mindful eating for short periods at first and then gradually build up your stamina from there on out. Let us take a look at some steps that can help you begin following mindful eating-

1. Pay attention to your shopping list- Mindful eating goes beyond eating. While shopping you should start paying attention to the nutritional value and health benefits of every item you put in your cart. Avoid impulse buying while shopping by sticking to your list and do not stay too long in the processed food aisle.

2. Cut the distractions- Stop multitasking while eating food. Turn off the TV and put your phone down. It is best to practice mindful eating for short periods at first so that you can learn to notice when you are distracted and how to bring your attention back o the food. Mindful eating certainly improves with practice. Therefore, do not beat yourself up when you fail to keep up with it.

3. Make sure you are hungry- A lot of time we eat meals even when we are not hungry. A big part of mindful eating is gauging your appetite as you eat food so that you are able to satiate your hunger before overeating. It is also important to know what your intentions are as you eat a particular meal. Is it that you are eating a specific meal because you are bored or because you need a distraction?

4. Start with a small portion- Starting a meal with a smaller portion helps you gauge your hunger and attention span. You can always eat more when your hunger is not satiated and you can also end your meal when you feel full from what was on your plate.

5. Pay attention to your chewing habits- Mindful eating practices aim to help people enjoy and appreciate their food and the effort put into cooking. Therefore, take small bites, chew thoroughly, and eat slowly.

Benefits of mindful eating

1. Helps with weight loss- It is true that a lot of diets don’t work in the long run as many of them aim at restricting your food consumption. However, mindful eating aims at making you aware of your hunger, the nutritional value of your food, and your intention with eating a meal. It aims to reduce instances of mindless eating, emotional eating, and eating in response to food cravings, all of these are factors linked to overeating and weight gain. Mindful eating helps people improve their relationship with food by bringing awareness and improving self-control.

2. Positively impacts the relationship with food- Mindful eating practices help us examine our relationship with food and also derive pleasure from it by slowing down.

3. Better digestion- Mindful eating is associated with improved digestion as you chew your food properly and eat slowly. Research indicates that digestive conditions are affected by stress levels. Mindful eating is associated with reducing stress.

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