Eating is very natural, healthy, and also a pleasurable activity for satisfying hunger. However, in our food abundant, diet-obsessed culture, eating is often mindless, consuming, and guilt-inducing instead. Mindful eating is an ancient mindfulness practice with applications for resolving this troubled love-hate relationship with food.
Mindful eating is eating with an attention and an intention. It is eating with the intention of caring for yourself. It is also eating with an attention necessary for noticing and enjoying your food and its effects on your body.
Benefits of Mindful Eating
After knowing to eat mindfully, you won’t feel guilt while enjoying eating a cookie. Instead, you will feel satisfaction. If you eat mindfully, you will remember every delicious bite of breakfast.
Mindful eating has many surprising benefits. Although it has nothing to do with what to eat, it helps many people to lose and maintain weight by getting them in touch with feelings of fullness and hunger. Mindful eating is also being used to treat few chronic eating disorders, including emotional eating, binge eating, anorexia, and bulimia.
Perhaps most importantly, eating mindfully fosters a healthy relationship with food and lets you savor and enjoy what’s on your plate.
Eat a Plant-Based Diet
When eating meat products, especially red meat, there is a greater chance of colon cancer and heart disease. Switch red meat and dairy to poultry and eggs one day a week as a beginning tool. This is good for both you and our environment.
Don’t Skip Your Meals
Skipping your meals makes it harder to make mindful choices. When hunger pangs strike, you are prone to grab whatever is closest to your hand. This can mean stopping at a fast-food restaurant or buying something unhealthy from a vending machine.
Plan to regular meals which will help to give you a constant eating rhythm to the body. Do not eat fast, but eat slowly! This allows the body to process all that is going inside of you.
Chew each bite until it is liquefied. This can be up to 20 to 40 times, but it is worth it. Chewing generally helps the tongue and palate taste the food better and reduces the possibility of choking.
There is a huge difference between eating enough and eating as though you can’t contain the contents of the food you just ate. Mindful eaters practice the former so they do not overtax their bodies.
Eat slowly so you know when you can stop before you eat too much. You will be surprised to find out in Chinese medicine, one is to eat until he or she is only 80% full in order to keep the digestive system working efficiently.
Focus on the Meal
Choosing to focus on the food or meal allows you to truly enjoy the eating experience.
Drink Water before you Eating
When you drink a glass of water before you eat, you eat less afterward and don’t put on as many calories. Plus, you remain far from dehydrated, and your body gets adequate hydration to keep you awake and full of energy.
Engage All Six Senses
As you serve and eat your food, observe the sounds, colors, smells, and textures involved in your food. Do not just rely on the taste alone. When you put your first bite in your mouth, act as though this was the first time you tasted the particular food.
Honor the Food
Start your meal with five contemplations or whichever traditional prayer or form of gratitude you choose to prefer. The five contemplations:
- This food is the gift of the whole universe.
- May we eat with mindfulness and gratitude so it should be worthy to receive it.
- May we recognize and transform our unwholesome mental formations, especially our greed, and learn to eat in moderation.
- May we keep our compassion alive by eating in such a way that we reduce the suffering of living beings, preserve our planet, and reverse the process of global warming.
- We accept this food so that we will nurture our both sisterhood and brotherhood, strengthen our community, and nourish our ideal of serving all living beings.
Rate Your Hunger
Know how hungry you are. Then, rate yourself. Eat according to how hungry you are. If you are not filled, eat a snack later on in a few hours. This helps you control your weight.
Practicing this mindfulness eating in a busy world can be challenging at times, but you can find ways to more easily tune into your body by understanding and by implementing these basic guiding principles and practices. You will be pleasantly surprised when you discover just how much your relationship with food can change for the better and this can have a significant impact on your overall health and well-being.