Mindful eating exercises – The Ultimate Guide
Mindful eating exercises are more than just having nutrition-rich meals. Tell me one single person on the entire planet who doesn’t love food. Well, there might be an exception but for you and me, food is something more than just three meals per day.
While, it is important to take care of what you intake, it is also super essential to know how to intake.
Living healthy can be so much fun and much simpler at times, so let me take you to the mindful living land where we will practice mindful eating too.
When we think about past centuries the food was scarce, nutrition was poor and diseases were prevalent back then. In contrast, today’s fast-paced era has provided us with numerous options for food, so much so that worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.
Moreover, our daily hustle in order to achieve our goals has taken our mind off from eating consciously, and maybe because of that the act of eating has become mindless and quick.
This situation can be realized by asking a simple question to yourself.
Do you remember what you’ve eaten in the past couple of days?
If you don’t remember it, the most common reasons would be because you were engaged in activities like watching television, reading, working online or driving, etc while eating.
This reflects that we’re not fully aware of what we put inside our body let alone in how much quantity we put it.
What’s mindful eating exercises or having mindful meals mean?
Mindful eating exercise is based on the concept of “MINDFULNESS” which essentially means taking a break from the future and calmly focusing on the present moment along with deeply indulging your feeling, thoughts, and sensations with the act that you are performing currently, such as having a meal.
Therefore, mindfulness can be considered as a meditation, which is used in order to alleviate conditions like eating disorders such as emotional eating, stress eating and also helps in treating depression and anxiety by intentionally enhancing your consciousness in whatever you do.
So, mindful eating exercises essentially means using the art of mindfulness to reach a state of full attention toward your experiences, cravings, and satisfaction while you are eating.
Why are mindful eating exercises important?
It should be noted that biologically there is a strong connection of mind with each and every bodily function including the digestion process.
As an array of signals and hormones involves connecting the nervous system to this process, because of that our brain requires 20 minutes in order to gain knowledge about the fullness of our stomach.
This means that we become prone to overeating when our attention is distracted due to anything while we are having a meal and we forget to acknowledge the feeling of satiety.
Later this leads to various metabolic disorders such as diabetes, obesity, and even certain types of cancers.
It is at this point where mindful eating exercises help us in choosing our food consciously along with that it allows us to understand the difference between psychological and physical hunger cues, plus increases our consciousness towards your satiety signals.
This can be considered as a weight loss diet where instead of cutting the amount of food, we are choosing to consciously train our mind and senses to enhance our feelings while eating and thus increasing our levels of satisfaction with the right foods.
How to practice mindful eating?
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After you start truly enjoying the flavors of food, in the next step you become conscious about your habits like eating your food while multitasking or watching television.
These are some of my favorite books on mindful eating.
Lastly you would be able to identify the factors influencing your eating habits and wilfully change them for good.
Tips for mindful eating –
- Pay attention only to the physical hunger cues while identifying psychological cues and suppressing them with controlled eating.
- Eat slowly without any physical or emotional distraction – consider the act of eating as a meditation where all your focus should be only on what you are eating.
- Chew properly – Remember digestion begins in the mouth as our saliva contains digestive enzymes. Along with that this will also help to curb the issue of overeating as more time you chew the food more satisfied your mind feels.
- Try to enhance your senses towards the color, texture, smell, and flavors of your food with your every meal.
- Notice the effect of a particular food on your feelings. Try to be emotionally neutral about your meals. If you find yourself attached emotionally to any food try to overcome that feeling.
- Eat, in order to maintain your overall health and well-being. Don’t eat to satisfy your cravings just because you think it as a support for yourself whenever you may feel low.
- Always read nutritional information before you buy food, avoid processed food like chips and candies as they are engineered for overconsumption.
- Appreciate your meal – pause before eating the food and silently express your gratitude for a chance to enjoy a wholesome and delightful meal.
Follow these things in order to reap the benefits of mindful eating exercises. They will help you in converting your autonomous reactions to more mindful and healthy responses.
Still not sure if you want to bring out this change?
Well, prepare to be astonished by these 5 incredible benefits of practicing mindful eating exercises which will compel you to adapt the idea of including mindful meals in your diet.
- Mindful eating exercises is key to better health and lifestyle
Various studies suggest that having mindful meals has extended benefits in controlling depression, anxiety, eating disorders, unhealthy cravings, and obesity.
Along with that, it has proven benefits in chronic conditions such as various cardiovascular diseases and type-2 diabetes.
One study suggests that having mindful meals can lower the triglycerides or bad fat stored in the body and increases the level of HDL or good cholesterol thus lowering the chances of heart diseases.
In addition to this a clinical trial was done on type-2 diabetic patients who were subjected to mindful eating exercises showed improvement in blood sugar control along with moderate weight loss.
Thus, adhering to mindful meals can significantly help in lowering the hemoglobin A1c or HbA1c values which are considered an ideal clinical test to confirm diabetes.
- Mindful meals help in weight loss
According to WHO 39% of adults aged 18 years and above are overweight, and 13% were obese. Thus, it can be concluded that obesity is prevalent and is gradually increasing.
In addition, obesity is a root cause of many life-threatening conditions such as blocked arteries, heart attacks, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and certain cancers.
Therefore, it is necessary to address this issue. The most common thing is to follow a huge calorie deficit diet plan in order to lose weight, but it has been found that 85% of obese people who lose weight this way regained or exceeded their previous weight within few years.
One the other, hand practicing mindful eating exercises has proven effects on curbing issues like binge eating, stress eating, extensive food cravings which are directly linked to weight gain.
Mindful meals help in changing your unhealthy habits because you start paying more attention to your health by consciously choosing what to eat when to eat and enhancing your senses to achieve the maximum satisfaction out of it.
Thus this technique directly attacks the root cause i.e. psychological cues of hunger and helps in weight loss or control.
- It improves your eating habits
Mindful eating exercises have shown benefits in curbing various psychological unhealthy eating habits such as
BINGE EATING DISORDER (BED) – means an individual eats large quantities of food in a short period of time, even if they are not hungry.
EXTERNAL EATING – which means whenever you eat in response to the sight or smell of particular food.
EMOTIONAL EATING- which means you eat in response to certain emotions. For instance – some individuals crave high fat or sugar food when they are sad.
MINDLESS EATING – Eating a large amount of food often unconsciously while watching television or playing video-games.
This technique provides you with skills in order to fight against such impulses and does not allow you to become a slave of your habits.
- Mindful meals make you more FLEXIBLE
Often some people are limited by their palate which makes them picky eaters. Such individuals are often devoid of proper nutrition because they don’t consume a proper mix of nutrient-rich food and thus have to depend on supplements.
However, adopting mindful eating exercises can help them to consciously develop taste and add varied food in their diet gradually and thus making them more flexible and adaptable to changes.
- It helps in absorbing NUTRIENTS more effectively
While practicing mindful eating exercises you consciously choose the food items which you want to put in your system and along with that you consider its quantity and time at which you will consume them.
For instance, an individual implementing this technique tends to eat healthy meals throughout the day. The meal which is low in bad fats and is packed with essential micronutrients along with good carbs, fiber, and protein is generally considered healthy.
This kind of balanced diet facilitates in increasing the number of gut bacteria and also improves digestion and thus ultimately helps to absorb more nutrients such as vitamins and minerals from the food.
Sharing my guilty pleasure and I am sure, I ain’t alone in this. So I love having beautiful dinner sets and everything that makes my food look fancy. Sharing my favorites below for your convenience.
The bottom line:
Mindful eating exercise is a great way to gain dominance over what you eat, you can either do it by yourself or you can seek the help of a dietitian, therapist, or psychologist for training.
This may sound simple change, but it imparts astounding effects once mastered. You will feel a boost in your energy levels and confidence and that will motivate you to impart the idea of “MINDFULNESS” in other aspects of your life as well.
I would love to know about your healthy diet and mindful eating practices in the comments below and I really hope that this post was super beneficial, do save it for your future reference.
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