10 Tips On How To Practice Mindful Eating
Eating was originally invented as a means to help fill us up. In the olden days, folk would eat only whenever they were hungry.
Fast-forward to 2015, though, and many of us like to indulge in mindless eating. We eat when we’re not even hungry. We eat more than we really need to. We eat faster than the speed of light. We eat processed baddies that cloud our minds, making us less smart. We have eating competitions. And worse than anything else, we simply can’t stop eating!
Mindful eating is all about being aware of exactly what you are doing. It is about paying attention, and eating whilst caring for your body. Being mindful means being aware of the effects that food can have on you.
1. Eat Plants
Nope, we’re not saying that you should head out into your garden, rip up your daffodils and gorge on them. That could make you ill, and if someone spots you, it could get you sectioned.
But a proper plant-based diet is certainly a lot healthier than a meat-based diet. It reduces your risk of cancer, as well as heart disease and diabetes. Moreover, when you indulge in a plant-based diet, you are being much more mindful and selective over what you eat.
A plant-based diet includes fruit, whole grains, seeds, leafy greens, as well as all types of veggies.
2. Stop Skipping Meals
Another one of great mindful eating tips is to avoid skipping meals. When we skip meals, we end up saying to the nearest family member/friend/total stranger: “I AM STARVING TO DEATH!!”
This is the problem with skipping meals; our hunger eventually intensifies to the point where we tell mindful eating to get lost, because we’re going to eat the first burger we come across.
To stay mindful, you simply cannot skip meals. Skipping meals leads to a state of hunger that sees you go out of control.
3. Never Overeat
Next one of important mindful eating tips is to avoid overeating by all means. The communication between our stomachs and brains is not instant, and as such it takes fifteen minutes for our brain to register that we are actually now full.
What this means is that you could actually be full before you realise it. And because you don’t realise it, you continue eating. And eating. And eating. Until you bloat and feel ill.
Mindful eaters are fully aware that it takes 15 minutes for our brains to tell us we’re full, and so they quit eating before they go too far.
4. Eat With Chopsticks For A While
If you’re a total novice when it comes to chopsticks, you’ll certainly be very mindful of what you’re eating when you try them out! And even if you have used chopsticks in the past and consider yourself to be pretty good with them, why not experiment by eating a salad or a sandwich with them? The results will certainly surprise you, and you will pay much more attention to everything that you are doing.
5. Eat Slowly
Eating slowly is another one of good mindful eating tips and it means that you are totally aware and fully in control. It allows you to keep calm and put a lid on your eating sooner rather than later. Moreover, it means you don’t assault your digestive system, but instead ensure that it keeps on ticking over efficiently.
The problem with eating out, particularly with friends who like to eat quickly, is that you can feel under pressure to eat as fast as them. Moreover, due to the pressures at work, lunch breaks are shorter than ever, which means we have to eat quickly. But we suggest that you always stay mindful when possible, and always take your time.
And if anyone asks you, just say you’re going for the slow-eating record.
6. Eat At The Table
A lot of us eat our food in front of the television. The problem with this is that we’re diverting our attention from our food to the TV, and so we often don’t realise how much we’re eating – or even what we’re eating. This helps bad habits to form.
By taking your dinner to the table, you are re-focusing on your food and your eating habits.
7. Drink Water
Sometimes, when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty. Because we get most of our water from food, when we’re thirsty our stomachs and brains think we need food. Instead, we just need some water.
Water can be very filling, and just a glass of water before eating means that you will eat less food during your meal. This means you will be consuming less calories and will also be nicely hydrated.
8. Eat With Your Weaker Hand
This is another one of really simple but effective mindful eating tips. By feeding yourself with your non-dominant hand, you will be so much more mindful of what you are doing.
Naturally, this won’t feel comfortable (especially during a big meal), and for this reason you could just stick to your weaker hand for smaller meals, such as breakfast and snacks.
Just try not to get too good at it!
9. Quality, Not Quantity
Cheap food is okay because we can buy more of it and consequently fill ourselves up more. But this is not always a good thing. Cheap food can actually be nasty, unhealthy and it encourages us to overeat.
Plus our friends might call us “Cheapo”.
If instead you buy more quality food and eat less of it, you will be refraining from overeating and you’ll actually be more satisfied.
Mindful eating tips also involve mindful chewing. Okay, everyone chews when they eat their food. But some chew once or twice before swallowing and moving onto the next bite. This encourages overeating and over-indulgence.
Instead, you could do a lot worse than indulge in the chewing exercise. Basically, the longer your chew, and the more you study it, the more mindful you will be of your eating. Think about it: consider how you chew. What side of the mouth do you usually chew on? How many chews do you make before swallowing?
You don’t need to make notes of this stuff for posterity, but being more mindful of your chewing means you’ll be more mindful of your eating.
Do you have other mindful eating tips?