Did you know that those who choose to transition to more healthy diets are oftentimes able to reverse illnesses that they’ve developed?
If you are not happy with your eating behaviors after trying, again and again, to put an end to mindless eating, it’s easy to think that your only option is to give up hope. What you might not realize is that by practicing mindful eating it’s possible to quickly and easily change your eating habits.
To help you to improve your relationship with food, I’ve written a guide. Read on and I will tell you everything that you need to know.
Give Your Body Time to Catch Up to Your Brain
If you’re looking for an easy and straightforward way to get your mind and body to be in communication, you should try your best to slow down. Those who do this will find it easier to develop mindful eating practices.
One of the reasons why this is an important thing to do is because the body doesn’t usually send a satiation signal until about twenty minutes after the brain does. This is why so many people develop unconscious emotional eating habits.
This is also why, if you’ve just finished eating a nourishing meal and don’t wait a few minutes before having dessert, it’s possible that you’ll start binge-eating unhealthy foods such as ice cream.
Not only should you slow down when you’re eating your meals, but it is also helpful to start paying attention to what your body is saying to you.
There are several simple things you can do to slow down while you’re eating. You can start by choosing to sit down when you eat. If you choose to eat when you’re on the go, you’re likely to be too distracted to practice eating with intention.
You also might consider chewing every bite that you take at least twenty-five times. Not only will thoroughly chewing your food help you to more efficiently digest your meals, but it will also give you the chance to observe your levels of hunger and fullness.
Be Aware of What Your Body’s Hunger Signals Sound Like
It’s easy to get lost in your mind and to lose touch with what your body is saying. When you do this, you’re more likely to make bad food choices. It’s also possible that you’ll develop eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.
But if you choose to pay attention to your body, you’ll be able to tune in to a new kind of wisdom. You’re likely to notice if your urge to eat is related to things like stress, loneliness, heartbreak, or loneliness.
To tune into your body, you should consider choosing to stop whatever you’re doing at least several times per day so that you can pay attention to how you’re feeling. This often involves standing firm in the emotion of fear and not knowing what is the best thing to do.
You might notice that your stomach is growling, that your energy feels depleted, or that you are lightheaded if your body is hungry. If you listen to it and do not feel any of these things, you might not actually be hungry.
If this is the case, you should consider waiting several hours before having another meal. This is an especially important thing to do if you are interested in losing weight.
Design Your Kitchen for Healthy Eating
If you’ve developed a habit of meandering through your kitchen multiple times per day to look for snacks to nibble on, chances are that you are not going to be happy about your eating practices. Instead, you should develop the structures that will help you to start proactively thinking about your snacks and meals.
There are several actions you can take if you want to start doing this. For starters, consider moving all of your snacks and unhealthy foods to one corner of your kitchen. You might want to put them all into the same cupboard.
You should also put all of the nutritious foods that you like to eat in a single location. Whenever you go to your kitchen to make a meal, you can then make the commitment to yourself to only use the healthy ingredients.
After finishing your meal and waiting at least twenty minutes, you can then grab a small snack if you’d like. But remember to only eat very small amounts of foods that are unhealthy.
Many people also choose to post affirmations in strategic locations within their kitchens, such as on the refrigerator or on their microwave doors. The purpose of doing this is to remind yourself of what you want to believe about food and mindful eating.
For example, you might consider writing a note to put on one of your kitchen cabinets that says “I am eating healthier every single day.” Even if you don’t believe this statement at first, you’re more likely to know that it is true if you read it to yourself every single day.
Tune Into What Is Motivating You
It’s a good idea to constantly be asking yourself what is motivating you to eat. Are you choosing to eat food simply because it is tasty, or are you eating it because you want to practice mindfully eating something that is healthy?
It’s okay to want to eat foods because they taste great. Fortunately, there are a variety of foods that are both delicious and loaded with nutrients. But there are also many foods that are tasty yet incredibly unhealthy.
If you realize that you’re motivated to eat for the purpose of satisfying a craving, don’t beat yourself up for feeling this way. All that you need to do is start familiarizing yourself with foods that are nutritious and great-tasting.
Once you know what these are, you should make it a goal to stock your kitchen with these items. You should simultaneously get rid of foods that you love to eat if they are not healthy.
Take Time to Connect With the Food that You Eat
People tend to be less connected with the food that they eat than they were in the past. Those who lived in hunter-gatherer societies needed to spend their valuable time and energy searching for food to eat. They’d often put their lives on the line to hunt animals.
This gave them the chance to connect with the food that they ate. They were more likely to practice gratitude and to share their meals with friends and family who they knew were just as hungry as they were.
On the other hand, those who live in the modern world don’t need to hunt or farm their own food. All they need to do is go to the supermarket, or get in their car and go through a drive-through.
This means that many people have lost connection with where their food comes from. Therefore, it’s less common for people to stop for a moment and bring to mind why and how they’re grateful for the food that they have.
Thankfully, there are several things that you can start doing today if you want to connect more deeply with the food that you eat. By doing this, it will become easier for you to practice mindful eating.
The first thing you should do is to close your eyes while sitting in front of the meal you’re about to eat and bring to mind the water, soil, and sunshine that contributed to creating the food that you’re about to eat.
Be Attentive to Your Plate
Those who try to multitask by eating while they’re browsing on their smartphone, watching television, or driving their cars are more likely to eat mindlessly. It’s okay if you do this from time to time. Who hasn’t munched down a bowl of popcorn while attentively watching a movie?
But it’s still important to recognize that if you’re distracted while eating, it becomes more challenging to pay attention to the signals that your body is sending to you.
By choosing to do things such as turning off digital devices and your television while eating, it’s going to be easier for you to be attentive to your plate.
Start Embracing Mindful Eating Practices Today
If you’ve been wondering how to make the transition from mindless eating to mindful eating, it’s important for you to recognize the importance of developing healthy eating habits. The best way to start doing this is by learning how to pay attention to what your body is saying to you.
The Mindful Eating-Mindful Living Program
This program is based on the world-renowned stress reduction program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. and the works of Jan Chozen-Bays This program combines breath awareness, meditation, yoga and other mind-body methods to enhance the participant’s health, well-being and how he/she relates to food and eating. This Mindful Eating- Mindful Living (MEML) program, is designed to improve eating and food-related challenges by drawing upon the participant’s inner resources.
There is a tremendous body of research that support the benefits of participating in a MEML Program which includes the following:
- Enhanced sense of and freedom in relationship to food
- Enhanced mood and attitude
- Improved energy levels
- Increased effective responses to stress
- Decrease in maladaptive reaction to stress
The eight-week MEML course facilitated by Tarane Sondoozi, Psy.D. provides training in the use of formal and informal mindfulness practices of meditation and movement to help the participants change how they relate to food and eating. The practices and techniques offered in this program support conventional medical and preventive health approaches by activating and enhancing the participant’s inherent resources for relating to food and eating differently which will lead to an improved sense of well-being.