8 Steps to mindful eating

8 Steps to mindful Eating

Interview of mindless eating

I usually eat quickly, in between. For example, after skipping a proper breakfast, I grab a coffee and sip it in the car. A quick bite of a sandwich follows at the office between two appointments.
How many coffees have I had already? A common question around noon. At breakneck speed, I rush on. A few fries on the way home while picking up the kids. Eating together dinner is often canceled in the evening due to lack of time. Eating is a secondary issue. No matter what I eat, I shove it in my mouth.
Whether it’s delicious or not, I don’t even notice. I gulp it down.”

Does that sound familiar to you? Do you identify with it?

Example of mindful eating

What about taking it slow, taking your time? What if you study your meal like a scientist? Notice what you see, smell, feel.

nut mindful eating

Take a nut, for example. Do you see the bright colors and great grain? What do they remind you? How about the surface texture?

You feel the grooves and move your fingers over them. You hear the crackling of the shell. Finally, you smell the intense odor as you bring the piece closer to your face.
As you chew, you feel the resistance and the single pieces. After all, you chew slowly many times and notice the change in taste over time.

With every bite you feel peace and contentment. There is no need to hurry. You breathe in and out deeply. More beautiful memories of other meals have room and come to your mind, and you have the idea for your next meal to share in pleasant company.

That’s all well and good, you’ll say…but how can I change my bad habit?

One really simple technique for slowing down is to count your bites.

Doing this makes us less likely to gulp down the food but allows the meal to be properly chewed.

15 to 20 times will optimize digestion and our body will thank us.

Allow yourself to smile! Studies have shown that smiling increases happiness hormones in the blood, promoting digestion and slowing us down.

If you are alone, you can try the following game:

After each bite, you change the hand that brings the spoon or fork to your mouth. Count to three before resuming.

Switching the left and right brain hemispheres is unfamiliar and will automatically slow you down.

After a while, you’ll schedule more extended periods for mindful eating behavior. 

Simple Steps to mindful eating

Now let’s take it a step further and understand mindful eating as a simple to implement yet powerful technique to control and change bad eating habits.

Mindful eating goes back to a Buddhist concept of mindfulness, where you focus on the present moment and accept your feelings, thoughts, and body sensations without judgment.

This type of meditation is scientifically proven to have various health benefits. However, mindful eating also requires a little practice and taking time for yourself! [1] [2]

The following 8 steps to mindful eating will help you prepare for this exciting and memorable way of eating.

Eight steps to mindful eating

woman eating mindful

Life changes often take time and several attempts. So if all the steps don’t work out right away, don’t get impatient.

Pick one or two things, implement them, and add more over time. Eventually, you will get better and better at using all your senses and enjoying yourself.

1. Eat without distraction and stress. Take a time out specifically to eat. Eating is your focus, your only goal. Turn off all distractors such as smartphones, tablets, TV, or similar. Refrain from all other activities, such as driving or talking on the phone.

2. Listen to your body in time. It is not wise to binge eat with cravings or until you are oversaturated.
It is good to understand the physical signs of hunger and fullness, start eating in time and stop in time. Many routines follow a rhythm. Get to know your daily routine and needs better; then, you can optimize them. A planner can help you with this.

Mindful Eating Planner 2022

3. Try to recognize emotional eating like snacking, frustration eating or binge eating. Often awareness is enough to break the cycle. Bad eating habits should not control you. Place bad foods (chips, chocolate, frustration snacks) out of your sight so you’re not constantly reminded of them.

Try to plan your eating, for example, with a grocery list. This way, you’ll be more engaged with your meal while you’re still shopping.

4. Eat slowly.Consciously make movements of chewing and feeding yourself slowly. Listen to your body’s signals, such as saturation, hunger, or thirst. Try to perceive your impressions, such as the food’s taste, smell, and consistency.

5. Take small portions and small bites to give the food room in your mouth.
By doing this, you allow for adequate saliva production and mixing.

6. Chew at least 15 times so that the food mass is well-masticated and moistened with saliva.
Digestion begins in the mouth and your stomach will thank you for supporting it.

7. When eating, try to focus on all the qualities of the food, such as appearance, texture, color, smell, the sounds of opening or eating, taste, and texture. As a result, you will appreciate your food more and experience gratitude.

8. Food intake serves your body and your health. The microbiome in your digestive system dramatically impacts your overall health. So be sure to eat a variety of foods. Eat whole foods, fruits, and vegetables as often as possible, and avoid fast carbohydrates, red meat, and processed foods.
Drink plenty of fluids while you’re at it.

Conclusion

In summary, mindful eating can quickly become a valuable way for you to live a more meaningful and healthy life.

Feel free to share your experience with others by leaving a comment. Enjoy life!

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Scientific Literature

[1] Van Dyke N, Drinkwater EJ. Relationships between intuitive eating and health Iindicators: literature review. Public Health, Nutr. 2014;17:1757-1766. 

[2] Joseph B Nelson, Diabetes Spectr. 2017 Aug;30(3):171-174. doi: 10.2337/ds17-0015.
Mindful Eating: The Art of Presence While You Eat. PMID: 28848310 DOI: 10.2337/ds17-0015

 

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