We hear a lot about mindful eating, about the importance of paying attention to what you eat and listening to your body to see if you’re hungry or full. But in practice, what does this mean?
The concept of mindful eating comes from something more comprehensive, called Mindfulness. It’s a technique in which you focus on the present, with an open attitude, curiosity, and no judgment. You perceive your body, your thoughts, sensations, ideas, emotions and the environment around you, and you accept them as they are.
Mindfulness techniques are used more and more to improve concentration, decrease anxiety, and relieve stress.
How do you practice Mindfulness?
You can practice Mindfulness in several ways. Here are some tips below:
Contemplation – Sit comfortably and choose an object in front of you. It could be the flame of a candle, a leaf in a tree or a picture. Sit still, and stare at the spot for about 5 minutes. Take in its details, its colors and textures or whether it changes with the movement of the wind. If your mind “escapes” to another thought, simply turn your attention back to the object.
1 minute meditation – Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Notice your breathing and your body. Stay in that state for only a minute. When you open your eyes, feel the difference in your mood, your state of attention and relaxation. If you need help, this video is a great guide:
Mindfulness techniques are very interesting for the improvement of your eating behavior.
For this, Mindful eating exercises have been developed. Mindful eating exercises give you countless benefits, including:
- Helping you perceive signs of hunger and fullness
- Feeling the taste of food more
- Potentiating better food choices
- Helping to identify and lessen the habit of eating for emotional reasons
All of this contributes to better eating habits and thus can help you lose weight.
How do you practice mindful eating exercises?
Here are some tips to start practicing mindful eating:
- Perception – Before taking your first bite, stop, breathe and observe what you’re going to eat.
- Chew slowly – Your brain takes about 20 minutes to receive the message that the body has been fed. When you eat calmly, you give your body more time to realize that it’s full. If you devour your food, you need more to satisfy yourself.
- Rest between mouthfuls – Put your cutlery down on the table between bites and pay attention to your food. This helps you get off autopilot when you don’t even notice what you’re eating.
- Use your 5 senses – While you’re chewing, listen to the sounds of the environment where you are. Notice the color and appearance of your food, as well as its texture. Feel the aroma and then, savor it, feel every ingredient in your mouth.
When you adopt mindful eating exercises, you feel more pleasure when you eat, and consequently you eat less because you have an improved awareness of when you’re full.
Try this for a week and see the difference. You’ll love it!
How about learning my Sophie Effect method, which teaches you to transform your relationship with food and to listen to your body’s signals again? It includes six weeks of videos and materials that will explain eating habits, and how you can regain the pleasure of eating. Check it out!