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Mindful eating

October 31,2018

Healthy eating is not just about what you eat, it also concerns eating behaviours, by this I am referring to the way we eat and enjoy food. The term “Mindfulness” is the act of being aware of the moment, somewhat akin to “stopping to smell the roses”. When it comes to eating, mindfulness involves being aware of what you are eating, savouring it and therefore achieving maximum enjoyment and satisfaction.

Many people eat while doing other things like driving, watching TV or talking on the phone and as a result they eat too fast. They treat eating as a daily chore and do it on auto-pilot rather than allowing food to be one of life’s enjoyments. What’s the point in eating a juicy peach or even a piece of chocolate if you don’t sit down, look at it, taste it, feel its texture in your mouth and enjoy every bite. Not being aware of the food your eating means we lose touch with subtle signs of fullness and rely on other cues, such as the food running out or starting to feel uncomfortable from eating too much. This is one of the biggest factors involved in weight gain and in turn managing weight long term.

Learning to savour your food simply makes it more pleasurable and satisfaction is gained from smaller amounts. We are able to be at peace with food and embrace it as one of life’s pleasures, rather than thinking of it as an enemy.

Benefits of Mindful Eating:

  • Increased enjoyment of food
  • Improved digestion
  • Reduced overeating
  • being satisfied with less

Steps to Mindful Eating:

  1. Start small – Choose 1 meal each or snack day and commit to eating it mindfully.
  2. Eat without distractions – set time aside for eating, its difficult to focus on eating when you are doing other things.
  3. Plan your meal – what do you want to eat.
  4. Set the table and sit down to eat – appreciate the appearance of the food and its aroma.
  5. Focus on each mouthful – think about flavour, texture, and even the sound. How does the food feel in your mouth.
  6. Slow down – there are no taste buds in your stomach
  7. Chew your food – this is where digestion starts, so make sure its well broken down before you swallow. Food that isn’t digested properly can cause bloating, cramps and wind.
  8. Go for quality not quantity – Prepare good food from fresh ingredients. Choose smaller amounts of good quality food and make the preparation and consumption of it a pleasurable experience.