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Mindful eating: A guide to eating for well-being

mindful eating

Mindful eating:

Welcome to the delightful world of mindful eating! In our fast-paced lives, the act of eating is often rushed or overlooked. This blog aims to be your guide on how to savor each bite, appreciate the flavors and nourish both your body and soul. Whether you are a food enthusiast or someone looking to establish a healthier relationship between food, join us on this culinary journey as we explore the act of mindful eating and transform the way you approach your meals. Get ready to embark on a flavorful adventure where every bite is an opportunity to engage your senses and cultivate a deeper connection with the food on your plate.

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Do you remember when you were a kid, your parents or grandparents would tell you about the times when they did not possess any dining tables? The entire family would sit down on the floor for their meals. Do you remember the times when television and mobile phones did not exist? Mealtimes were the occasion for family bonding.

Fast forward to today. I am going to mention a few everyday scenarios that we have seen, but rarely cat to notice:

  • Eating while watching TV,
  • Browsing the Internet on your smartphone during your meals,
  • Eating food on the go while driving your car,
  • Walking on the pavement with a sandwich or a vada pav in your hands,
  • Talking to potential business client while you are having lunch, because you or the client cannot wait. Then complaining about not having enough time to eat!

We work hard to earn our bread, but hardly have time to eat it. What is irony that is!

Always remember, how you eat your food is just as important as what you eat, or sometimes even more important.

Eating is an experience that needs to be felt, not just for the taste and satisfy, but also to enjoy it, absorb its nutrients and ultimately get the nourishment from what you eat. The best way to get this experience is to practice mindful eating.

mindful eating

Why focus on mindful eating:

Mindful eating starts with eating without distractions. Understand your body’s response to food. Enjoy every aspect of your food and appreciate it. If you are surrounded by distractions, your mind is trying to multitask. Therefore, it might even forget to take the cues when you are full.

Our body takes approximately 20 minutes to realize that we are full. Leptin- The “satiety hormone” is released when the body feels that it does not need more food to eat. This means if you finish your meal in 5 to 10 minutes, there is the chance that you will overeat. This is because the brain has not signaled you yet, saying that it is full. You have not given enough time for the leptin to release. This leads to a bloated stomach and obesity. That is where mindful eating comes into play.

A study that conducted mindful eating practices among obese participants helped them reduce over 12 kg in six months.

Mindful eating means you are present, aware and can experience the pleasure of eating with all your senses. Let me give you some ideas on how you can do that.

Get rid of gadgets for mindful eating:

Get rid of all the distractions that do not let your focus on your food. I cannot stress this enough. Gadgets are such a hideous distraction that they make you completely unaware of what you are eating. These gadgets completely disturb the eating process. You miss your body’s screams to slow down or stop eating, because you are too busy with screen.

Even worse is eating rapidly because you are distracted with the million other things on your computer screen while working. Eating might seem like a boring task that has to be done for survival, yet, not doing it right is going to create health problems for you.

All you need to do is dedicate a specific time for eating just as you do for brushing your teeth or taking a shower. Eat your food with a peaceful mind without letting gadgets take over. Many of our health and lifestyle issues resolve around what we put in our body to stay healthy. You need to listen to what your body says and avoid being distracted, especially during meal times.

Involve your senses for mindful eating:

Enjoy your food. It is simple! Take in the visual appeal of what is on your plate. Let the vibrancy of different colors reach your eyes, signal your brain that makes it happy on seeing your food. Let them aroma fill your nose.

My mouth is watering is the phrase we always hear when we cannot wait to eat the delicious dish in front of us. When your mouth starts salivating, it also signals the brain to kickstart the process of digestion. Do not forget digestion starts in your mouth.

When you start eating, enjoy the individual textures of everything you eat. To achieve this, you must eat slowly. Before you begin eating with your mouth (relish the flavors), first feast on your food with your eyes (feast on the colors), nose (imbibes the smells), ears (hear the sounds) and hands (feel the textures).

A chew for every tooth:

Chew every bite 32 times! Does it sound Unrealistic? No problem. Let me give you three steps.

The first step is to be aware. Notice how many times use you currently.

The 2nd step is to chew 3 more times than your present count.

The 3rd step is to keep increasing chewing three times more than each day until it reaches 30 or 32 times comfortably.

Come on, adding three more counts in this way is not just a big deal.

The idea is to turn solids into liquids before it reaches your stomach. Every time you chew, you make the process of digestion more convenient with digestive enzymes mixing with your food. Chewing food mixed with enzymes is like a blessing to your stomach. Your stomach will effortlessly process the food and leave no toxins in the end. Do not jump into dinner table conversations as soon as you take your seat.

I always recommended my clients not to talk a lot while eating. Once your food is laid on the table, mindfully notice every sense being activated to the presence of food. This way you are creating a situation wherein you are not entirely ignorant of food on your plate.

Binge eating is just another way to causing more health problems. You need to be mindful of what you are eating. Are you eating because you are bored, stressed, sad, happy or are you hungry? Notice, if the hunger signs are physical or emotional. Food cravings and even binge eating will reduce largely when you are fully into your meal.

Eat until you are 80% full:

We have talked about the satiety hormone- “Leptin,” which signals you to stop eating. The problem is until it is released, we have already overeaten. Therefore, the best idea is to stop eating a while before you are almost full. When you stop eating, when you are about 80% full, you might have eaten 100% of your capacity. Remember, eat for energy, not to feel stuffed.

Here are some ideas to avoid overeating.

  • Use smaller plates.
  • Take less food on your plate than you think you need. Do not fill it up, thinking you might need it all. Tell your mind that you will take a 2nd serving if required.
  • Most restaurants provide a large serving size. Remember, you do not have to finish it all.
  • Eat a salad before the meal. This will fill up your stomach to quite some extent.
  • Do not eat from the main food container. Take your food in a separate plate.
  • Do not share your plate with someone else. You will never know how much you ate. Instead, if you need to share, put a portion of your meal in another flat and proceed.
  • Drink a glass of water, 30 to 40, minutes before your meal.
  • Sit in Sukhasana (crossed-legged comfortable position):

Long before the advent of chairs and tables, people would sit down on the floor to eat. They would sit down in the post called Sukhasana. This was a traditional practice that is still followed in many parts of India and other parts of the world. sitting on the floors in a cross-legged comfortable position helps the process of digestion.

While sitting in the position, the abdominal muscles triggered to produce more stomach acids. This helped the food digest faster. Sukhasana means poster of contentment. It gives the heart healthy as less pressure will exert on this vital organ. Sukhasana helps the blood get distributed evenly in the body. Try to sit in Sukhasana whenever you take your meals. Spiritually speaking, eating in this position makes us humbler.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, mindful eating is not just about what is on your plate. It is a holistic experience that engages your senses, fosters gratitude for the nourishment you receive and creates a profound connection between you and your food.

As you embark on this journey, remember that every meal is a chance to celebrate life. Appreciate the effort behind each ingredient and relish the simple joy of eating.

So, take a deep breath, savor the flavors, and let every mindful bite be a step towards a healthier, more conscious way of nourishing both your body and soul.

cheers to a mindful and fulfilling culinary adventure!

Dr.Hetal Patel

Admin

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