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Mindful eating is a powerful tool. Find out how it can help you

Mindful eating is a powerful tool. Find out how it can help you

Last Reviewed : 12/25/2020
Mindful eating is a powerful tool. Find out how it can help you

Mindful eating is a practice based on Buddhism; it involves paying attention to the food and what it does to your body. In modern-day life full of busy schedules and endless tasks, food is often taken as a chore, hardly paid attention to and on many occasions, is guilt-ridden. We go through the process of eating while performing multiple tasks on our computers, scrolling through mobile phones or watching a television show without paying any attention to chewing or swallowing or even noticing the amount of food that we consume.

Mindfulness involves paying attention to the taste, smell, color and texture of the food and understanding the effect food has on our body. This helps us to address our needs better and helps us discern the feeling of satisfaction after food and prevents senseless eating. The Buddhism-based practice incorporates a behavioral change that sets in over time. It also helps us deals with the quantity of food as it familiarizes us with the requirements of our body. This way, mindful eating can help to overcome binge eating and other eating disorders.

What is and isn’t Mindful Eating

Mindful eating involves sensual awareness of the food. It involves paying attention to the food moment by moment without any judgment. Mindful eating is not a diet to lose weight. It doesn’t involve any menus or recipes or specific food ingredients. It is rather an approach to help people savor the food and the moments and enjoy their eating experience. But it is possible that over a period of time, people with mindful eating behavior would lose weight. Not because they restrict their food, but they are rather satisfied with the food they have.

Most diets focus on the outcomes of food like calories and weight gain and diabetes and glycemic control. This leads to increased stress on a daily basis, making it difficult for the person to continue. Mindful eating is a process-oriented approach. It focuses on people appreciating their food rather than restricting their food. It helps us to deal with sudden cravings.

Mindful eating essentially involves following fundamentals:

  1. Eating slowly while paying complete attention to the food and avoiding distractions
  2. Distinguishing actual hunger from emotional responses like boredom, sadness, anger or anxiety
  3. Eating only when food is needed, in the state of hunger, low energy levels and stopping when you feel satisfied rather than stuffing yourself till you can’t fit in another bite
  4. Appreciating your food and engaging in sensory stimuli
  5. Observing the effect each morsel of food has on your body
  6. Understanding the nutritious effect of food on your body and trying to avoid guilt.

Benefits of mindful eating

Discussed below are the perks you stand to derive from mindful eating.

  1. Weight loss and improved health: Well, most weight loss programs don't work for long-term duration, and people with successful weight loss eventually return to their initial weight within a few years. Diets used for weight loss often increase the stress on an individual to achieve their weight loss targets. Mindful eating, on the other hand, helps you to achieve a more sustainable pattern of eating and reduces stress.
  2. Controlling eating behaviors: Majority of obese people have unhealthy eating behaviors like binge eating, emotional eating, external eating and eating in response to cravings. Studies have shown much improvement in obese women in response to mindful eating. Emotional eating is when people consume food in response to emotional states like anger or sadness. External eating is eating in response to external stimuli like the sight or smell of food. More importantly, mindful eating helps with all kinds of eating behaviors.
  3. Improves general health: Also, mindful eating allows us to associate our feeling, thoughts and emotions. It effectively reduces stress levels and helps to maintain optimum health. By understanding the requirements of our body, it helps us to limit unnecessary consumption and digestive issues.
  4. Helps you enjoy your food: We often quantify our food in terms of calories, calculating, bargaining on their content, wrestling with carbohydrate, protein and fats loads. It causes displeasure with food and doesn’t allow us to appreciate food. However, mindful eating helps you to get over the calculative eye and appreciate the nutritive value of the food. It essentially removes the guilt most obese people associate with eating.

Conclusion

In this guide, you learned what mindful eating is and what it is not. In addition to that, you understood the perks associated with the Buddhism-based practice. Are you considering giving mindful eating a try? Indeed, you may be having second thoughts about it due to the origin of the eating practice. Sure, your religious views don’t sync with those of Buddhists. However, it is netter you focus on the benefits of mindful eating as opposed to the origin of the practice. More importantly, you should give it a shot as it doesn’t require you to strain your body in any way. After giving it a try, don’t hesitate to share your thoughts with us!

Reference

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/obr.12156 Mindfulness-based Interventions for Obesity-related Eating Behaviors: a literature review by G. A. O'Reilly et al. Obes Rev. 2014 Jun; 15 (6):453-61. doi: 10.1111/obr.12156

 

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