Mindful eating is a strategy for stopping the pattern of mindless eating and really enjoying food and it is a great stress management technique. It is a form of mindfulness that incorporates the practice of being fully present and aware, with the act of eating. There are many benefits of mindful eating, it helps you to savor your food, enjoy your food more fully so you require less amount of it to feel satisfied, enjoy your smaller portion more, reduce stress in the whole process and the ultimate goal is to allow you to lose weight. Mindful eating has been used successfully as an approach to weight loss as well as for a meditation and a stress relief technique. It is recommended by weight loss coaches, diet books, etc. the first step is not to engage in other activities while you eat: i. e watching tv while eating.
When practicing mindful eating, focus deeply on each sensation you experience both inside and out. The taste of the food-focus on each individual flavor, how it feels on your tongue, how long the flavor lasts and how it fades. The texture of the food-how does it feel to taste it? Is it crunchy? Smooth and creamy? Juicy? Celebrate each sensation. The thoughts you experience as you eat-if other thoughts come into your head, notice them, but then gently redirect your attention to your mindful eating. Physical sensation in your body-notice how hunger gradually moves into satisfaction. Try to pinpoint specific moments when you no longer feel hungry and no longer need more food to feel satisfied. Often when people eat mindlessly, they are left with a “stuffed” feeling afterward because they didn’t notice when they were full. Tension in your body if you feel tense from a stressful day, try to relax your muscles. Let your shoulders drop and relax, let your breathing switch to deep breathing and just relax and enjoy your food.
Practice by switching hands while eating, chocolate or raisin meditation. Switch hands-switching hands from your dominant to the hand you use less often can transform the feel of a meal. Chocolate meditation-the chocolate meditation involves eating a small amount of chocolate very slowly and deliberately, noticing every feeling, taste, and sensation in your body as you do. Raisin medication can provide similar benefits as chocolate medication. It does not melt in your mouth, but you can focus more on the appearance of the raisin, the tactile sensations as you handle and explore the raisin, the chewy texture as well as the sweet taste, as you eat one at a time, very slowly.
Benefits of mindful eating: taste your food more if you double the time it takes you to eat your meal, you will experience more of the flavors, textures and smells of the food you eat. Lose weight –while you are slowing down, you might find that you learn to stop eating sooner. You might notice that you are full and don’t need the extra bite. Choose better foods-when you eat slowly, you end up tasting your food more. The more you pay attention to your foods, the more you will prefer natural, healthy foods. Most processed foods are designed by food engineers to taste great for the first 3 or so bites. After that food begins to taste bland and uninteresting. Studies show that “fullness” is a complex concept that combines the number of times you chew, the time you spend eating, the look of the food on the plate, as well as the actual amount of food you eat. Learn these strategies and soon you will be at your goal weight!