The easiest nutrition improvement you can make is to eat more mindfully. Even without changing what you eat, eating more mindfully can benefit your health and weight loss goals.
When you improve how you eat, you’ll naturally improve what you eat.
What is Mindful Eating?
Eating mindfully means being fully present for each bite, chew, sip and swallow. It’s being aware of what’s going on inside your body and your external surroundings. Engaging your senses allows you to connect with the present moment and learn to enjoy food in a more nourishing way. Although “being mindful” is a simple concept, it can be extremely challenging in our fast-paced culture. That’s why it’s essential to practice daily.
MINDFUL EATING PRACTICE:
Be aware of your first three bites or sips. Awareness and small changes produce effective and sustainable results.
Mindful Eating Tips
When creating mindful eating habits, it’s important to recognize what urges you to eat. Does your body tell you what to eat? Are you eating to satisfy hunger or thirst physically? Or are you emotionally eating to fill an area of your life that feels incomplete? Recognizing the difference between actual and emotional hunger can help you lose weight.
With endless health tips, the pressure to make magazine-cover meals, and a cultural obsession with analyzing food, it’s easy to find fault with what’s on your plate. Instead of enjoying food, you feel restricted with what you “should” consume and guilty about what you “shouldn’t” consume. The good news is that mindfulness makes eating enjoyable by helping you listen to your body instead of external sources.
Develop a Mealtime Ritual
Did you know that singing happy birthday makes cake taste better? Develop a mealtime routine or ritual to increase mindfulness before you eat. Healthy pre-meal rituals include cooking, blessing your food, and expressing gratitude before you dig in. Create a mindful meal routine that nourishes your body with more than just food.
Set up for mindful eating success by creating a comfortable dining experience. Use soft lighting, soothing music, and simple table settings. An undistracted environment makes mindfulness easier, which promotes slower meals and prevents overeating. Unplug from tech, set the table, add flowers, light a candle, etc. Create a distraction-free zone so you can focus on eating.
As you eat more mindfully, be aware of your posture too. Check your posture before, during, and after your meals. Are you slumped over or stiff as a board? Find a seated position that’s upright without being overly rigid. Let go of tension by breathing deeply into your belly and relaxing your shoulders down your back. This mindful eating tip can also support digestion.
Being grateful is a vital mindful eating tip. Expressing your gratitude centers you in the present moment, which makes it easier to be more aware of your thoughts and actions. Take a moment before eating to give thanks and bless your food. Give gratitude for the time, work, and effort it took to get each ingredient.
A delightful way to eat more mindfully is to savor more. You can practice with a raisin, a piece of fruit, or a square of chocolate. Savor each bite by engaging your senses. Be mindful of the colors, textures, scents, tastes, and sounds during meals. Use fresh herbs and spices, such as garlic, ginger, cilantro, and basil, to boost flavor and heighten your senses.
MINDFUL EATING EXERCISE:
Put your utensils down between bites to encourage slower eating, savor and breathe.
Chew your food more, as the act of chewing releases flavors that increase satiation and enzymes that increase nutrient absorption. That means more nutrients with less food. Challenge yourself to chew each bite at least 30 times.
Lastly, another beneficial mindful eating tip is to slow down. Check in with your body throughout the meal, and stop eating when you’re about 80% full. The body takes about 20 minutes to signal satiation, so eat slowly.