In the fast-paced world in which we live today, being mindful about what we’re eating has become secondary to checking social media, watching TV, getting kids ready for school or focusing on work – among many other things. It’s tempting and very easy to pay little attention to what we’re putting into our bodies, how we’re eating it and whether we’re too busy to appreciate our food.
Mindful eating is a concept centered around paying attention to our bodies as we’re eating, listening to hunger cues and eating things that are going to give nourishment to our bodies.
Why is mindful eating important? It will help sustain your overall wellness and health.
How can you mindfully eat? The concept may sound very simple, but sometimes it’s difficult to carry out and stick to regularly – and that’s okay! Life is hectic sometimes, so a quick drive-through trip is sometimes the only option. There are steps that you can take, however, to mindfully eat the majority of the time.
Instead of eating dinner while checking your phone, emails, social media or watching television, set aside some “you” time while you eat. Focus on your food – the tastes, textures and smells. Chewing slowly and paying attention with your senses to what you’re eating helps you to identify when your body is giving you cues that it’s full and doesn’t need anymore food. Our bodies are constantly talking to us, but it’s up to us to really listen above all the chatter of the world.
Instead of falling into the trap of eating when you’re bored and not actually hungry, make a conscious effort to do something else. Maybe take a walk, do some yoga, read a book – the idea is to decide if you’re actually hungry, and if you’re not, then take part in one of the hobbies that you love to do instead.
Instead of eating a majority of processed foods that have empty calories and little to no nutritional value, check labels, buy fresh foods and cook more often. Eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, healthy dairy, lean meats and little sugar will make you feel amazing, give you much more energy and also help you to get sick less often.
Processed food manufacturers are obviously going to do everything they can to make their products taste good so that more people buy them. The problem with that is they will really do anything they can to keep their consumers addicted, including adding chemicals and very large amounts of sugar, which is linked to many health issues like cancer or heart disease.
It’s suggested to avoid the center aisles, or shop the perimeter, in the grocery store. Instead of buying cookies, chips, soda, frozen dinners, etc., stick to the outside areas in the market. You can’t go wrong in the refrigerated section with meats and dairy, and the vegetable and fruit sections.
Eating is meant to be enjoyed, but the main function is to maintain your overall health and give you energy. Indulging once in awhile is totally fine, as is being distracted while eating sometimes because you lead such a busy life. However, as often as possible, try to practice mindful eating.