Mindful eating is taking the world by storm. Thousands of women all around the world have adopted mindful eating as a way to shed excess fat and get healthier. It’s also very effective for getting them to feel better about themselves. So many women experience guilt and other negative emotions after eating foods that they think/know they shouldn’t.
Mindful eating is a lenient and less stressful approach to eating than conventional diets like the paleo diet or Atkins diet which are very strict and difficult to adopt.
Mindful eating is about exploring your relationship with food and discovering why you eat what you eat and if you’re really even hungry or just using food as medication for your emotional problems.
Let’s look at what mindful eating is all about and some of the practices in it.
* Eating slowly and mindfully
We live in a hectic society where people eat hastily giving nary a thought about what they’re eating. Women who are juggling careers and family may find that they just grab a snack or a bar of chocolate eat it without even thinking twice about it. They just needed that little perk up on their busy day.
Eating mindfully forces you to slow down and ask yourself why you’re eating. Are you really hungry or are you just bored and tired? It is very common for busy moms who are exhausted to just walk over to the fridge, grab something from there, heat it up and drop themselves on the couch and eat while they take a much-needed break.
It’s like they’re on autopilot and the food is just for comfort and to make them feel good. The problem here is that these same women may be trying to lose weight and get back in shape post-pregnancy. They know they shouldn’t be eating unnecessarily and yet they do it.
Mindful eating will arrest this problem by making you question why you’re eating. You’ll have less guilt and be less likely to eat when you’re not hungry. You won’t be prone to weight gain and your health will also improve. Your relationship with food will get much better and you won’t be constantly thinking about food.
* Recognizing Hunger Cues
Mindful eating will break the autopilot routine mentioned and force women to ask themselves if they really need to eat. Just asking this question alone is enough to break the pattern and make you think twice about eating it.
Real hunger has a few signs. Your stomach starts to growl and feels empty. Most human beings know when they’re actually hungry.
Eating to distract yourself or cover up your emotions is quite something else. If you’re full but you’re still eating, there is an underlying emotional issue. It could be stress, depression or boredom.
Mindful eating is about knowing the difference. It requires you to pay attention to how your body feels. You also need to pay attention while you eat. Do you feel pleasure? Relief? Are you enjoying the food you’re eating or are you gorging yourself without knowing why?
The answers to these questions will give you a better understanding of why you eat and the food choices you make. It’s these revelations that make mindful eating so powerful. It turns the act of eating from an automatic response to one where you’re thinking while you eat.
* Healthy Relationship with Food
Ultimately, the goal is to create a healthy relationship between food and you. Food is meant for sustenance and fuel. The occasional treat is meant to make you feel happy, satisfies and nourished. You should not be feeling guilty after you eat. So many women suffer from this problem because they eat without thinking. Their actions are not controlled. They respond to their bodies’ demands and cravings without stopping to ask themselves why they feel this way.
The woman who is craving for cake the whole day may raid the fridge at night and eat 4 or 5 slices till she feels sick and knows she overdid it. Guilt takes over and she feels like she has let herself down yet again. Over time, she loses confidence in herself because of all the times she has failed. She then resigns herself to her fate of being overweight because of her lack of discipline.
The more you eat, the less flavor; the less you eat, the more flavorChinese proverb
With mindful eating, the woman will ask herself why she craves cake so much? Is she addicted to sugar? What does eating the cake do for her? Will she feel better?
Upon thinking, she’ll realize that she is probably going to feel guilty and hate herself later? But why? Did she let herself down?
Wouldn’t it be better if she just ate 1 slice and drank a tall glass of water and called it a day? Of course, it would.
If she does that, she’ll be proud of this little accomplishment. She exerted control and ate mindfully. With this confidence, she’ll approach eating the same way the next day and maybe eat just half a slice and so on.
This is exactly how mindful eating works. As the name suggests, it’s all about mindfulness. To know what you’re eating, how you’re eating and why you’re eating this way. It’s a mental, emotional and to some extent, a spiritual journey. Once you start observing yourself, you’ll be better able to make positive changes to your eating habits and become healthier. Make mindful eating a part of your life.