Do you have a love-hate relationship with food? In the rush of day-to-day obligations, do healthy meals fall low on the radar? Do you often eat quickly, standing up, on the go, or in front of the television? Bad eating habits can affect you negatively, in so many ways. With the New Year, it’s time to take a step back and be present with your food, to eat slowly, and savor life deliciously.
Mindful Eating (also known as Intuitive Eating) is an ancient practice based on the idea that we should be consciousness about what we are eating and why. When you pay attention, you enjoy food more and recognize your body’s natural cues for hunger and fullness more effectively. So instead of scarfing down something because you are stressed, in a hurry, or need emotional comfort, you intentionally make a more nourishing choice and eat it slowly and purposefully.
A recent study tracking more than 1,400 mindful eaters showed impressive results. The study participants had lower body weights, a greater sense of well-being, and fewer symptoms of eating disorders. But Mindful Eating only works if you make the decision to stick with it day to day. It’s one of the healthiest decisions you can make! Pay close attention to these tips and begin practicing Mindful Eating today — it’s time to love food again!
#1 Think Before You Eat
Determine why you are hungry. Are you craving something for emotional or nutritional reasons? What does your body need? Take a few deep breaths to relax and focus before you begin.
#2 Eliminate Distractions
How can you connect with each bite while the TV is blaring in the background? Turn down loud music, turn off the phone, and tone down excessive talking. If you are away from home, find a comfortable, quiet place to enjoy your meal.
#3 Slow Down
Eating is not a race. Chew each bite at least 50 times. Eating slowly and purposefully helps break down food so you can digest it easily, giving your body the nutrients you need without overeating. Pause every now and then to determine your fullness level. Stop when you are comfortably satisfied but not stuffed.
#4 Enjoy What You Eat
Eating slowly allows you to savor each bite, and you may even notice new flavors you missed before. Mindful eaters actually enjoy food more! And when you are aware of what you are eating and why, you make better choices, leaving you feeling good instead of guilty.
#5 Get To Know Your Food
Mindful Eating also means knowing where your food came from, be it farm or grocery store. Understanding how your food got to your table gives you an appreciation for what you will be putting into your body and will help change your shopping and eating habits for good.
#6 Be Thankful
Show gratitude for the food you have. Reflect and acknowledge what it will do to nourish you body. Growing a loving relationship with your food is an important part of Mindful Eating. After all, food is truly the best medicine!
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