Top 5 Tips for Mindful Eating
Have you ever sat in front of a television and gone through a bag of potato chips or your favorite cookie box without even realizing it? Often, we end up feeling guilt and shame for eating without paying attention to the food.
Mindful eating is to enjoy what you eat without being distracted – it’s appreciating the colors or the sweetness of the apple you bite into, it is enjoying the crunch and crispness of the salad greens and being fully present as you enjoy every bite of a gooey chocolate pastry.
While food brings comfort and joy, it can also cause anxiety and self-defeating thoughts. Mindful eating can help you develop habits that help you maintain a healthy weight and increase positive feelings associated with food.
Here are our top 5 tips for mindful eating:
1. Tune into Your Body
Many of us eat food to mask feelings that we don’t want to feel. Sometimes, when we are upset, we reach out for our favorite carbohydrates or “comfort food” as they can help release serotonin, a chemical in the body that helps boost mood and reduce stress. If you know you are upset, it is better to take some time before having a meal. You can also choose a healthy sandwich instead that gives the same serotonin rush. Take time to scan your body to check if you are mistaking thirst for hunger or perhaps, you are just bored.
2. Enjoy your Food
Make sure that you relish what you eat – and you will see that over time, you will favor ingredients that are fresh-tasting and nutritious. It takes about 20 minutes for the brain to signal the body about a feeling of fullness. So, take time out to chew mindfully, so that you recognize when you are content with your meal.
3. Digital Detox During Mealtimes
This may be tough for many who are used to eating in front of the television or fiddling with their phone. I would suggest taking baby steps towards a digital detox till it becomes a habit. Keeping away from electronic devices is especially important when you are having meals with your family and friends.
A recent Pew Research study revealed that over 60 percent of people thought it was unacceptable to use a phone when at a restaurant, with 88 percent saying it was even worse if it was at a family dinner. While it is rude to use a phone during family mealtimes, it is also a lost chance to connect with your loved ones.
4. Choose When You Decide to Indulge
Life is about love, joy, and happiness. If you are craving ice cream, don’t double up on your vegetables just because you feel that is what you ‘should’ be having. Instead, have your vegetables and a small bowl of ice cream. It’s all about moderation and intuitively understanding what is good for your body, physically as well as emotionally.
5. Decide If You Like It
Sometimes, you may eat things out of habit. For instance, you may bite into a warm buttered toast and really enjoy the crunch of the toast. However, you want to have a second one, but it may not give you the same joy – these are the decisions that can be taken when you mindfully eat.
Don’t settle for something just because it is on your plate, even though your past conditioning and habits may have taught you to finish what you have been served. Make sure you eat only the best and enjoy it!
Soniyaa Kiran Punjabi is the founder of Illuminations Well-being, Hypnotherapist, Holistic Wellness Coach, & Corporate Trainer. Illuminations, with 3 centers in the UAE and a formidable online presence, has touched the lives of more than 35000 people by helping them tap into their highest potential and become the best version of themselves. To know about our latest services, you can check our Events calendar, or connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or Meetup.