MINDFUL EATING : OR HOW TO MAKE PEACE WITH YOUR INNER SELF March 20 2023
By Hinda Lahmar
Do you gobble up your lunch, without your full attention about its taste, mainly focused on your phone or TV, watching your favorite show?
In today’s society, eating has become a mindless act, mixed with distractions such as using phones or television to spend time while eating. People have shifted away their attention from the true act of eating which can be problematic for your health, whether it’s mental or physical issues.
It takes time for your brain to register information sent from your body. This is why mindless eating can cause various problems as your brain doesn’t get the right message to function properly and understand when your body tells you you are full.
Eating mindfully, on the other hand, help your attention restore and eating becomes an intentional act instead of a mindless, automatic one. Therefore, your brain gets the right information at the right time. With Mindful eating, we eat when we are hungry and help enjoy meals more than what we are used to (Healthline).
What is Mindful Eating
Mindful eating comes from a Buddhist concept. It is a form of meditation that helps understand your body and recognize and learn how to deal with your emotions and physical sensations. Mindfulness eating is a state of full attention to your body, understanding cravings, senses, and physical reactions toward food.
Mindful eating is commonly used to treat conditions related to food such as different eating disorders, but also anxiety, and depression. Mindful eating is also helpful to reduce stress and help with BED (Binge eating disorder – which is an eating disorder consisting in eating a large amount of food without control in a short amount of time) and obesity. Indeed, having full control of your mind and body when eating will help you understand when to eat and when your body doesn’t need to, but it will also help you eat and appreciate healthier food, which will lead to better health overall.
Additionally, Mindful eating is also effective to reduce emotional and external eating. Emotional eating is the act of eating as a response to a certain emotion. For example, some people might feel the need to eat after a sad episode of their life, others feel the need to eat when they feel excited. External eating, on the other side, is the act of feeling the need to eat when outside, which may be triggered by a smell or seeing food. Whichever it is, mindful eating will help you manage these impulses by controlling your mind and body (MomsWhoSave.com).
A few tips to get you started:
Mindfulness eating is practiced through a series of exercises, however, we'll get through the basics to help you get started on your journey.
The first step is to eat in silence. Eliminating distractions (turning off the TV or putting your phone down) will allow you to focus all your attention on your meal and your body. You can now focus on how the food makes you feel, start by eating more slowly and chewing more often and thoroughly. Eating slowly instead of rushing your meals will help you feel all the sensations your body needs to reduce stress and for your brain to send the right messages to your body. The last, very important step is to understand when to stop eating, for this you need to listen to your body and stop eating when you’re full. For this, start asking yourself why you’re eating and whether you are truly hungry or if it is out of boredom or cravings (Life, but better).
To begin with, it’s good to start slowly, for example, try to focus on these points only for one meal a day and once you feel confident enough with these practices, increase to two meals a day and finally three meals.
Mindful eating can be very effective if done consistently. However, there is a lot more to learn about mindful eating and it takes time to master these practices to feel healthy again.
In the coming blog posts, I will share my knowledge about topics related to health, meditation, yoga, and general hygiene. If you want to read about a specific topic, let me know in the comments and I will write about it first.
Enjoy your mindful eating journey and experience peace with your inner-self.