Eating is unarguably one of the most natural and pleasurable activities in our everyday life, although there are so many good and bad ways to approach it.
Environmental factors, perceived lack of time, food choices availability and poor nutritional knowledge could contribute to the adoption of unhealthy eating habits among the population of any age. As a result of that, body dissatisfaction, reduced self-esteem, eating disorders and health conditions are becoming more and more popular.
The good news is that a growing number of studies suggest that mindfulness-based approaches may improve metabolic health and promote longer-term weight loss or healthy weight maintenance.
WHAT EXACTLY IS MINDFULL EATING?
Mindfulness is a form of Buddhist meditation practice that involves paying non-judgmental attention to the present moment, feelings and thoughts in order to awaken the internal and external experience.
Applied to eating, mindfulness is making conscious choices, listening physical cues, appreciating colours, flavours, textures and smell of food.
Mindful eating is certainly not a diet but a beautiful way of experiencing your meals, which helps to feel more satisfied and to get rid of guilt and anxiety. In fact, by not ignoring the body’s signals and satisfying its real needs for healthy food, we naturally start improving eating habits avoiding weight fluctuations and health problems.
Although, is it really easy to do so? As the rhythm of life is becoming faster and faster, we are losing the ability to really “feel” our body. Most of us have a general sense of what food could be healthy or not but not necessarily we go for it. So how can we really improve that?
SOME USEFUL TIPS…
- Sit comfortably, get rid of distractions (eg. working at the computer, watching TV or reading) and take a couple of deep breaths before starting.
- If you are with other people try to minimise talking for the first few minutes in order to connect your body-mind with what you are doing.
- Pay attention and appreciate your food by engaging your senses: notice colours, smells, textures, and flavours.
- Eat small bites, chew slowly and eat until you are satisfied and not until you are full. That’s how overeating can me minimised! Listen to your body signals and ask yourself if you really need more food…sometimes we simply mistake emotions for physical hunger.
- Eat to promote good health and wellbeing as a form of self-appreciation and notice how food affects your body and feelings after having it.
- Research about optimal nutrition, learn how to prepare meals and what type of ingredients and combinations are best to nourish your body.
- Chose sustainable food: buy more plant-based and organic ingredients and support more environmentally friendly food sources.
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