Mindful eating is an invaluable tool that can help you regulate your hunger, boost meal enjoyment, and enhance overall wellbeing.
Eating mindfully can be a difficult habit to develop, but it is one worth striving to master over time.
Before beginning this mindful eating journey, you might want to try some different exercises.
1. Make a meal plan
Mindful eating is an approach that involves engaging all your senses while you shop, prepare and consume food. It’s not about following rules or regulations; rather, it’s about savoring each meal in its own unique way so that you can fully savor the experience.
One of the initial steps to incorporating mindful eating into your daily life is creating a meal plan. This can be as straightforward or intricate as desired, depending on how you prefer to organize your meals.
Meal planning can help alleviate some of the stress that comes with figuring out what to eat each day, especially if you’re busy or have family commitments. Furthermore, it makes it simpler to incorporate healthy, balanced meals into your diet – always beneficial!
2. Take a deep breath before you eat
Deep breathing is a relaxing practice that reduces stress. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system and inhibits activity in the sympathetic nervous system.
Additionally, exercise helps maintain your heart rate at a steady level and prevents it from racing. It may even aid in relaxing you and promoting better sleep quality.
The most efficient breathing pattern is a slow, full inhale followed by an exhale of equal length. This helps fill your lungs with fresh air and keeps toxins out of your system.
Furthermore, deep breathing helps maintain a balanced level of acid and alkaline within your body, which helps you stay at a healthy weight and promotes proper digestion.
3. Eat with your eyes closed
If you have never heard of mindful eating before, it is a practice of engaging all your senses to make food choices that are both satisfying and nourishing.
This practice can easily become part of your daily routine, helping you develop habits that will enable you to succeed in the workplace.
Eating without thought (while driving, working, or watching TV) often leads to poor food choices and increased weight gain.
Mindful eating helps you become more in tune with your hunger and fullness cues, as well as when and how much food is appropriate to consume at any given time. It can be an effective way to curb emotional eating and binge eating habits.
4. Take a moment to savor your food
Eating mindfully requires you to pay full attention to each bite of food. While this can be a challenging skill for some, the benefits are worth practicing!
Researchers have observed that taking a moment to savor your food helps align the mind with the body’s cephalic phase digestive response (CPDR). This will prime your stomach for digestion and make you feel fuller faster.
Savoring your food also encourages you to stop eating when your stomach is full, helping prevent overeating.
5. Listen to your body
Listening to your body means being aware of how you feel, including your appetite. While this may not always be easy, it is an integral part of living a healthier lifestyle.
If you’re trying to shed pounds, this skill can help prevent overeating. Furthermore, it may help manage anxiety and stress.
Listening to your body is similar to meditation in that it requires awareness, openness and acceptance of yourself. While this may take some time and practice, the rewards in the end will be well worth the effort.
6. Take a break
It can be easy to rush through meals and neglect the quality of what you’re eating. Therefore, take some time before each bite to savor your food and engage all your senses in enjoying it.
When you’re ready to eat, create a space where you can enjoy your meal without being distracted by outside stimuli. This may involve turning off the TV, keeping your phone out of sight with all sounds turned off, or even taking down your laptop and closing the door behind you.