To do something mindfully means you are doing it with full awareness, and without criticism or judgement. The topic of mindfulness is especially important when it comes to eating, because eating mindfully can help guide you to making food choices that are better for your body.
When you are eating mindfully, you are enjoying the full experience of eating that particular food or meal. You are fully engaged in the smell, tastes and textures of what you are eating, and you are fully aware of how that food is making you feel during and after eating it.
Eating mindlessly can leave you feeling unable to draw associations between the food you eat, and how it makes you feel. Eating mindlessly can cause you to miss important cues your body gives you about the foods you are eating, and thus you cannot use those cues to make the most informed food decisions for your body in that moment.
When you eat mindfully, you are able to fully experience all a food has to offer–the flavors, textures, freshness–and you are able to fully understand how it makes you feel. Here are three tips to help you practice mindful eating.
Understand what foods leave you feeling satisfied
Finishing a meal should leave you feeling both physically and mentally satisfied. A food can be as healthy and filling as possible but if it doesn’t leave you feeling satisfied, you will likely be looking for more soon after, even if it isn’t what your body needs in that moment. Truly being satisfied with your food involves being satisfied with the full eating experience. Factors involving food satisfaction include satisfaction with the food’s taste and textures, ability to enjoy the food guilt-free, and overall satiety.
Know what your attitudes are around food
For many people, food is a source of emotional comfort. We celebrate over food, we relieve stress by eating food, we fill voids with food…
Take some time to understand what your personal attitudes towards food entail. In what ways do you turn to food for more than just satisfying physical hunger? Are there any foods you tend to turn to when you’re feeling anxious, or stressed, or want comfort? Before making any changes, try journaling what you eat along with how you felt before and after eating it to understand your attitudes and behaviors.
Identify and work through feelings of food guilt
Food guilt is a common feeling, and it can be a major hurdle when it comes to mindful eating. Experiencing guilt around eating certain foods takes the enjoyment out of eating. Instead of focusing on understanding how that food makes you feel physically, having your focus on the guilt of eating a particular food takes away the ability to enjoy eating it. If you do experience feelings of food guilt, it is important to understand what they are, where they come from, and how to identify them in order to move forward.
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