It’s a daily routine in our lives. Sitting down, eating our meals and then moving on with life. It is seen as so ‘normal’ that we often forget to enjoy the foods that we eventually put in our mouths. Noticing how it tastes, what the structure is or WHAT it actually is! And then I don’t mean that you are too blind to see that you are eating a burger, of course. I mean that it’s often overseen what the burger is actually made of. The ingredients, the goods, the bads, the vitamins, the health killers,… And don’t think that I’m asking you to all become food nutritionist. Not at all! A little bit more awareness of what is good for you is just fine. Because the many distractions around us can blind us so deeply, that we often aren’t even aware of the possible harm that we can cause ourselves.
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Mindful eating is putting your whole attention on the process of eating and enjoying your meal. It is you becoming more aware of every small aspect of it. The taste, the smell, the structure,… And very important, what it actually is that you put into your mouth. Mindful eating is also choosing to eat while not being distracted. This means, no TV, no cellphone, no book,… Only you and your meal. Every small distraction can take away your attention from your food. So the best choice is just to consciously choose to avoid and eliminate those while eating.
Why Shouldn’t You Watch TV Or Read A book While Eating?
When you are watching TV while eating, then you just can’t fully focus on the eating process. Besides that, any emotional trigger caused by TV, books or cellphone’s can unconsciously make you eat faster and less controlled. And that unconscious behavior can automatically lead to overeating, stomach bloating (because of lack of chewing), emotional eating or gaining weight. So, that is not such a good idea!
When you eat more mindful, your stomach gets the time to send a signal to your brain that you are full. So this will automatically make you eat less. This is mostly because you chew more often than you would while watching tv for example. If you eat mindfully then you can really focus on chewing the foods properly and slowly. And the more and the better you chew your foods, the faster you’ll feel satisfied.
Emotional eating mostly happens in an unconscious way. It is a habit that automatically pops up from the moment you feel stressed, sad, angry or emotionally unstable. Somewhere in the past, you have probably grabbed some ‘happy’foods during an emotional equal state of being. And this may have given you a short-term satisfied feeling. And it’s that short-term feeling that can cause an unconscious habitual addiction. The more aware you become of it, the more you can prevent yourself from doing it.
The more mindful you eat, the more aware you are of your chewing. You chew longer and better. This means that the foods are then properly separated into several small pieces that are easier to digest. Besides that, your saliva helps with part one of the whole digestion process. This is because saliva contains the enzyme Amylase. This is an enzyme that helps with breaking down carbohydrates and starch into sugar. And this first part of the digestion helps to make the further digestion run more smoothly.
Mindful eating can help in managing your weight because of several reasons. The first reason is that mindful eating prevents you from overeating. This is in many cases the big cause of gaining weight. Reason number two is that mindful eating makes you more aware of what you are putting into your mouth. The more aware you are, the less you will be attracted to unhealthy and ‘toxic’ foods. The third reason is that mindful eating leads to deeper self-knowledge. You become more grounded in who you are, what you need and why you do the things you do. This helps you, for example, with separating unhealthy, unnecessary cravings from real hunger.
Mindful eating is all about focusing on the here and now. Your attention is fully focused on every small aspect that is happening in your eating process. This can help you in living more in the present generally. You train your brain into being more focused on what is happening right now. Becoming more mindful is a matter of attitude. It is an attitude that needs to be adapted in your day to day life. And eating mindfully is a perfect way to start living a more mindful life.
Mindful eating helps with making flavors taste more intense and strong. It will make some foods taste like heaven in your mouth. Your taste buds will thank you. You’ll start to learn to enjoy foods much more. And this will make you appreciate the small enjoyments you’ve always been missing before. Not only in foods, but also in general.
Mindfulness can help you become more in tune with your whole being. Your mind, your body, your spirit. This increases self-love, self-knowledge, and self-awareness. You will be more in tune with what you truly want and need in life.
As mindfulness helps you with eating slower, it will help you with better digestion. This will ultimately prevent you from having stomach bloating because of a bad metabolism.
As you are fully present, you are totally aware of what you are putting in your mouth. You can still eat unhealthy of course! This is all a matter of choice. But the more mindful you live, the more likely you’ll start to notice what doesn’t work for you. You’ll start to feel which foods make your body happy and which not.
Besides becoming more aware of what you are eating, you’ll most likely start to appreciate healthier foods better. The benefits of being aware are that you’ll notice how amazing healthy foods will make you feel.
Because your stomach will have the time to signal when it’s full, you’ll feel satisfied longer. No more overeating, no more undereating. This will prevent you from having cravings or eating out of boredom.
Like I mentioned before, mindful eating heightens flavors. This isn’t because it changes the food structure but it helps you to fully focus on your sense of taste. Something that you didn’t do before. Because when you are
too focused on sights, sounds, taste, smells and touch, then it keeps you from experiencing a sense of taste, fully.
Not many reasons to not do it, I guess? Besides that, mindful eating isn’t that hard at all. It is all about making the choice to slow down your speed level, decrease your distractions and choosing to be HERE, in the now.
Love & Joy