Six practical ideas you can easily apply to your daily life to help you eat mindfully
Back in the days, things were different. Not perfect, just different and somewhat quieter.
Our parents and grandparents didn’t live in a permanent state of distraction, like most of us today.
There were no phones to steal their attention while they ate …
There were no YouTube channels to keep them “entertained” at lunchtime.
In fact, many homes made a point of turning off their TVs at meal time!
Today, instead of eating and savoring the foods that nourish our body, we “multitask”.
The pressure of our professional and personal lives compels us to do two or three things at once.
And what happens when that occurs?
Correct! Nothing gets done as it should!
When we eat hastily and without paying attention to the act of eating we are not giving our brains enough time to receive the signal sent by the stomach indicating that it feels full and satisfied.
How long does that signal take to reach our brain?
About 20-25 minutes.
If you eat in 10 minutes while finishing any odd task in your computer, your brain doesn’t have enough time to receive the signal from the stomach and you still feel hungry.
And the quality of the task you were trying to finish will probably also leave a lot to be desired!
What can you do about it?
Pause and devote the kind of attention a process that is so important for your body and your health deserves.
In other words, try eating according to the principles of Mindful Eating.
Mindfulness will help you discover and be aware of your body and its reactions to different types of food.
The following tips – based on Mindful Eating principles – will help you regain attention, enjoy your food, improve your own relationship with your body and it might even help you lose weight!.
1- Eat slowly.
As I mentioned earlier, it takes a minimum of 20 minutes for the body to show signs of being satiated.
Because your body is a very sophisticated machine with very complex physiological processes that require time.
In this case, when you eat, you stimulate the vagus nerve in the stomach that leads the satiety signal to the hypothalamus.
For that process to be effective, you must give it time.
That’s why, I recommend you take the time to chew calmly.
If you do so:
O You will get more flavor and more nutrients from the food.
O You will be giving time to the nutrients that are being transferred in the blood to give the signs of satiety that your brain is waiting for.
O You will mobilize the fat cells of the body to indicate that our deposits are being replenished.
Do you find it hard to eat slowly?
I understand exactly what you mean.
Nowadays, we have become accustomed to eating at astronomical speeds.
But, it’s all a matter of practice.
The following exercise will help you get used to it:
Count the times you chew each bite.
Start by chewing at least 10 times each bite.
And when you get used to it, keep this principle in mind:
“Drink the food and eat the drink.”
Can you imagine how many times you would have to chew your food in order to drink it?
Try applying these simple principles of Mindful Eating to your meal routine.
2- Eat the right amount
It has always been said that it is not good to eat until you feel full.
Not in vain is gluttony one of the cardinal sins!
Our wise grandmothers told us to leave a tiny bit of space in the stomach …
And our very wise grandmothers were absolutely right.
To be aware of how much we are eating it’s important to serve all the food on a plate and observe how much we are actually eating.
Do you feel like you’ve put too much food on the plate?
Do you think it’s the right amount?
Are you going to be left feeling hungry?
How does your stomach respond to each mouthful you chew?
At what point does your stomach begin to feel full?
Asking yourself these kind of questions as you eat will help you focus your attention on the quantity of food you have on the plate, and the reaction of your body to every single bite.
3- Try to maintain the energy equation
What is the energy equation?
The energy equation refers to something as simple as not eating more than the amount of calories your body uses.
Your energy is balanced when the energy intake and expenditure are equal.
When the energy intake is greater than its expenditure, we are talking about positive energy balance.
What happens when there is a positive energy balance?
In that case, the increased adipose tissue results in an increased weight.
When the energy intake is less than its expenditure, we are talking about a negative energy balance.
In this case, the body weight decreases.
The goal is to get the right balance.
But, be careful! Eating a lot less than what you should could have the opposite results!
Because the human being has a very effective anti-famine system.
What happens if we lose weight very quickly?
Our body activates an alarm immediately!
The anti-famine alarm warns us that something is failing and our very smart body finds a way to regain weight, quickly.
And it even goes as far as adding a little more weight to our stores to prevent starvation in the future!
4- Conscious substitution
Can you hear that little voice enticing you to eat all that delicious chocolate bar?
Well, you have to find a cordial way to tell it that you are not going to fall for it!
Tell it that chocolate is not what your body needs right now.
Kindly remind it that there are substitutes which are equally or almost as satisfying and a lot better for you in the long run.
In other words, don’t ignore the little voice that tempts you to eat chocolate but do not indulge its seductive words and end up with the chocolate in your mouth!
Don’t forget that if you try to resist something, it will become stronger!
Try to be aware of what it is that drives you to eat, why does it tempt you, and try to substitute it for a healthier option.
You have a tendency to given in to your little voice?
In such a case, try to eat only a small amount of the object of your desire. attentively, applying the 9 Kamba meditation principles you will find here.
5- Treat yourself with kindness.
I have already spoken about this in an article on the topic of your inner critic.
That rather obnoxious character who insists on telling us what we should and should not do.
Always testing us!
While there is no denying that its intentions are generally good, its tendency towards negativity always ends up creating problems for us!
So, when you hear your inner critic insisting that you are overweight, that you are never going to lower your weight, and that you should not bother with all this nonsense since genetics has already marked your path …
Try to keep it quiet.
Treat yourself with benevolence.
Tell yourself that you deserve that special care.
You deserve the time you devote to eating mindfully.
Your body is a sanctuary, and deserves all the care and attention you can give it.
Starting with something as simple as food!.
6- Out of sight, out of mind
Is that chocolate bar still a problem for you?
Don’t buy it!
Chances are that if you don’t buy it, you will not think of it, and will not fall into temptation.
Maybe, but I invite you to think about all the products you have in your kitchen that are a real temptation for you.
Are they many more than you imagined?
There you go…
In addition, you will be saving money you can then invest in doing the things you truly enjoy doing!
Studying the food you have on your plate …
Feeling thankful for the nutrients you are proving your body with…
If you still find mindful eating challenging, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
I will be happy to help you apply the principles of Mindful Eating to your day to day routine.
Have a great day!
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