Nowadays, many adults struggle to take care of their health due to their busy lifestyles. Often, people complain about feeling tired, lacking sleep, gaining too much weight, and experiencing other concerns that affect their well-being. Most of them identify poor nutrition as the probable cause of these issues, as their hectic schedules limit their ability to prepare healthy meals and maintain good eating habits. To counter this problem, some try to incorporate mindful eating practices into their daily routine.
The practice of mindful eating comes from the Buddhist concept of mindfulness, which involves paying full attention to what happens in the present. Mindful eating enhances the person’s ability to be attuned to their feelings, thoughts, and experiences—allowing for a healthier, more natural way of providing nutrition to the body. Many people find this practice effective in improving eating habits, food choices, and one’s overall well-being. As such, it has gained popularity among health enthusiasts and those looking for ways to lose weight faster or improve their health and nutrition.
If you’re thinking about how you can practice mindful eating to boost your health and wellness, here are some of the basic pointers you can consider:
The process of recognizing one’s hunger may be different for each person. In the practice of mindful eating, one of the key steps to get started is to identify your body’s way of telling you that it’s time to eat. This step can be helpful for those who have problems distinguishing whether they're hungry or just thirsty. Often, the two can get interchanged, which can make a person choose food over a drink even when they’re still full.
Another reason people fail to recognize real hunger is the hectic schedules that don’t allow them to take time to eat when they’re truly hungry. More often than not, people pattern their eating habits on what their schedule allows them to do and not on their hunger level.
The same applies to those who miss responding to their body’s signals for hunger. Sometimes, people choose to neglect their hunger and put off a meal until it’s very late in the day and their energy levels are depleted. This may also be detrimental to one’s health as the hunger overdrive may cause the person to eat more than usual. One good example of this is when people skip breakfast and then continuously snack throughout the day, ending up eating more than needed.
Many people who have busy schedules tend to eat their meals as fast as they could. Others decide to eat while they’re working to avoid disrupting their workflow. While some may not be able to take a full hour to eat a complete meal, it’s important to set aside some time to take a break and eat at a normal, unhurried pace. This is one of the benefits of practicing mindful eating because it allows for better digestion while giving the body time to signal satiation to the brain. If done regularly, this is known to contribute to weight loss as well.
The body can let the brain know that it’s satiated 20 minutes after eating. This is why it’s highly possible to overeat when rushing. To slow down your pace while eating, you can sit down in front of a table for a meal, take time to chew each bite of food you take, set down the eating utensils while chewing, and many others.
When shopping for groceries or ordering food, an effective way to practice mindfulness is to identify which food choices offer health benefits and which ones only provide comfort. Often, people tend to pick more items that have less nutritive value because of the comfort that these foods bring. The downside to this is that it makes it even more challenging to enjoy healthier food options when people satiate themselves with less nutritious items.
The benefit of practicing mindfulness while shopping for food is that you can better incorporate healthier food items into your meals. This way, you can identify those that you’ll find comfort in and will promote your health at the same time. These food items can potentially replace the junk food you used to consume.
Another way to practice mindfulness while eating is to focus on the dishes served at the dining table. Often, people are distracted with thoughts, electronic devices, or other people while eating that they miss appreciating the aroma, color, and texture of their food. Many also tend to put too much food on their plate and eat until everything is finished. This can cause them to consume much more than they intend to. Mindless eating happens because people focus on external events instead of the food and the eating process itself.
When you appreciate each dish and consider how much of each you could finish, you'll become aware of the actual amount of food you consumed during a meal. This makes it possible for you to feel full and content at the right level without any discomfort due to overconsumption.
The practice of mindful eating heightens a person’s awareness of their nutrition and eating habits, allowing them to make changes as needed. Practicing mindfulness could help you improve your health and nutrition using simple yet effective strategies that you can do every day on your own. As habits form with time, you’ll need to stay consistent and committed to improving your overall wellness so you can enjoy the benefits of this practice.