What it is
Mindful eating is eating in a manner which allows for thought and reflection. As a nation, it is typical to consume meals in a hurried fashion. Whether in the car, on the go, or not leaving time for appreciation of the food we are eating. The principle of mindful eating is all about awareness. It is the awareness of your body’s thoughts and emotions you are experiencing. Acknowledgment of your likes and dislikes of the food you are tasting. Most importantly, mindful eating is about understanding that there is no right or wrong way to eat food; rather there are several different degrees in how one may choose to experience their food.
How to Practice Mindful Eating
A mindful meal is a meal eaten with thought. Each bite is a chance to reflect on the preparation of the food. Starting with the farmers, the transportation, the distribution, and continuing to work through the journey of the food as goes from your plate to your mouth. Ask yourself the questions: Who grew the food? Were there chemicals involved in the process? How did the food get to the store? What did you change about the food? This includes all the alterations the food may have experienced. After the acknowledgment of the process, it is important to listen to your emotions, consciously dedicating time to fine tune your preferences. Focus on why you are eating. Be sure to recognize when you have reached satiety.
Impact of Mindful Eating
Alongside a greater appreciation for food, comes other benefits induced by mindful eating. It is often found that those who practice mindful eating experience initial weight loss. This makes sense as listening to the body and responding appropriately to when signals that you are full become present. Another change frequently associated with mindful eating is shifted notations in the food people choose to consume. Studies have shown people who eat mindfully are found to buy local, organic produce whenever possible. This is not only beneficial to the body, but also to the environment. Now that’s a win-win.
At first, it may seem strange to practice mindful eating, therefore it is important to take baby steps. Begin by choosing one meal a day in which you will practice mindful eating. When you begin, eat slowly and without distractions. By eliminating other distractions, you create an environment solely between yourself and the food you are eating. When first starting out along the journey of mindful eating, focus on the feelings you experience while you are eating. Eventually, the practice of mindful eating will become second nature.