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How to Practice Mindful Eating: 8 Steps for a Healthier Lifestyle

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Consuming food is a vital part of life, yet it can also be the origin of tension, regret, and perplexity. Conscious eating is a strategy to take control of your nourishment propensities and guarantee you make more beneficial decisions. It is a way to pay attention to your body’s needs and become more mindful of how food influences your prosperity. 

By following the eight stages depicted in this article, you can figure out how to practice mindful eating and appreciate a more beneficial way of life. 

Also, try practicing mindfulness meditation can help you get into the habit of mindful eating sooner.

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What is Mindful Eating?

eating mindfully

Mindful eating is a means to assess your dietary habits to make sure you are consuming the correct quantity of food for your body type and health objectives. It is a method to pay attention to your body’s eating signals to become more conscious of how food influences your well-being. Consuming should be a strengthening and agreeable experience, yet here and there it can become upsetting. 

Devouring when you aren’t really eager, or eating nourishments that are not nutritious and don’t make you feel great can prompt negative sentiments. When you eat mindfully, you are bound to settle on decisions that are beneficial for your wellbeing and self-esteem. 

When you practice mindful eating, you are more liable to eat reasonable amounts of food that leave you feeling fulfilled yet not overly full. Mindful eating will make you less inclined to go after unfortunate snacks like candy bars, chips, or cookies when you are feeling focused or exhausted. 

unhealthy snacking

While eating mindfully, you are centering all your consideration and sense on what you are eating. This causes you to be more mindful of the taste, smell, and texture of your food, as well as its temperature.

Benefits of Mindful Eating

  • Taking the time to enjoy each bite of your meal will make you feel more contented. Eating at a slower pace and really tasting the food will help you recognize its flavor and nutrition. This will help you keep from consuming too much, and instead, you will be content with smaller amounts. This will decrease your craving to munch between meals and motivate you to eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • You will eat unhealthy snacks a lot less. According to studies, mindful eating promotes healthier eating behavior. When you are in tune with your body’s eating signals, you will be less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks when you are stressed, bored or tired. Instead, you can enjoy healthy snacks like fresh fruits and vegetables, granola bars, nuts, seeds, and yogurt.
  • Feeling content after a meal can give you a sense of assurance. You feel as if what you had was just enough and perfect for you. Ensuring that meal can stop you from consuming too much. Therefore you can find happiness in the activity of eating instead of worrying if you have eaten too much.
  • You will have more energy and feel a lot less stressed. When you eat a well-balanced diet, you will have more energy throughout the day.  You will also be unlikely to want caffeinated drinks like coffee and soda. You will also feel less stressed because you are eating to nourish yourself not just to survive.
  • Managing and losing weight becomes easier by eating mindfully. Research also shows that mindful eating can have very significant impact on weight, binge eating and stress levels. 

Related: Top 4 Differences Between Mindfulness And Meditation

Mindful Eating Vs. Eating Mindlessly

Let’s understand what mindful eating looks like compared to if and when you eat mindlessly. This comparison is purely to paint a picture in your mind of what you are missing out on by not eating mindfully.

Mindful Eating Vs. Eating Mindlessly
Mindful EatingMindlessly Eating
1. You easily understand when you are hungry and when you are full.

 2. You start to enjoy variety in your food because your start paying attention to different foods that make you feel.
3. You look forward to enjoying your meals peacefully.

4. Always in tune with your hunger and have consistent meal timings.
5. Intuitively choose healthier snacks and always eat them in between bigger meal gaps.
1. You rely on the taste of food. It’s never easy to know when you are full or hungry.

2. You stick to your favorite food options more because they have become your comfort food.
3. You feel the need to have something to watch or something to do as you eat.

4. You don’t feel hungry for hours, or you go binge eating.
5. Find yourself always snacking and mostly reaching for sugary or high-sodium snacks.

Related: 4 Ways To Be Mindful By Staying Active – What Are Mindfulness Activities?

8 Steps to Practicing Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is way easier than anyone might think. There isn’t much that you need to do, just savoring and enjoying your every meal is good enough. These steps are here to help make mindful eating easier to do in your daily life. 

When you follow these steps, they will also help you improve your relationship with food and curb random cravings greatly.

healthy mindful snacking

Tune into Your Hunger and Fullness Levels

Following a set meal plan helps you to identify when your body is craving food and when it has had enough. If you have an appetite, make sure to eat, but if you feel like you can’t eat anymore, then put down your fork. A hunger scale can be beneficial for recognizing your hunger levels, for instance, a scale with “not hungry at all,” “very weakly hungry,” “weakly hungry,” “strongly hungry,” and “very strongly hungry.” Additionally, a fullness scale to rate your satisfaction post-meal can be utilized.

Practicing body scan meditation can help you to tune into your body and hunger levels.

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Make Time to Savor Your Food

If you chow down your food rapidly, you will not be able to relish the taste. So, it is important to slow down and chew your food with care and take a break in between bites. Additionally, you can also experiment with changing your eating habits like using your non-dominant hand or eating with your eyes closed. Doing this will help you to de-stress while you can fully take pleasure in the taste and texture of the food.

Eat Without Distractions 

When you are eating, it is best not to have any electronics such as your phone, laptop, TV, etc. on as this will prevent you from listening to your body’s hunger cues. To practice mindful eating, put away any devices and find a quiet place to eat. Alternatively, try eating outside where there are less distractions.

Be Mindful of Your Portion Sizes

It is not necessary to completely cut out sweet and savory snacks from your daily intake, but it is important to keep track of how much you eat. An incredible way to do this is by being aware of the amount you are consuming. Utilizing a smaller plate or bowl can help you measure out more adequate portions. You don’t need a scale to weigh the food for a more precise measurement.

Identify Feelings and Cravings

When you are eating mindfully, you will be able to identify feelings and cravings more easily. This will allow you to eat according to your body’s needs instead of your emotions. If you are in situation where you need to eat due to a craving, you can try to satisfy the craving with healthier options. For example, if you crave chocolate, you can enjoy a piece of dark chocolate or a small portion of a chocolate snack bar.

A review published in Cambridge university press also says mindful eating reduces emotional and binge eating. It allows positive shifts in eating habits and quantity of consumption.

binge eating

Eat Slowly and Enjoy Every Bite

Taking your time to savour your meals and truly appreciate every bite can help you be more aware of your cravings and feelings. This will also give you more time to eat lesser quantities of food, which in turn will help you keep yourself from eating too much. To slow down your eating process you can practice chewing your food 20 times before swallowing it and putting your fork down after every bite.

Start a Mindful Eating Journal

Recording your feelings and hunger pangs prior to eating can be useful in determining the source of those emotions. This can help you to better select what to eat when you’re feeling intensely hungry or emotional. Writing your emotions down can give you the opportunity to think through the emotion and decide if it is something that needs to be addressed with food.

Enjoy Meals With Family and Friends

mindful eating with friends and family

Gathering around the table with loved ones provides an opportunity to savor the flavors of a meal and deepen the bonds between family and friends. You can try to slow down and really focus on what you’re eating while also taking in the presence of those around you. Reducing distractions can also help you appreciate the moment – put away your cell phone, shut your laptop, and spend time with the people who are joining you.

Conclusion

Mindful eating allows you to have a better relationship with food. If you are still struggling with binge eating and finding it hard to make mindful eating a habit then try guided meditations. 

The enhanced meditation app has a lot of guided meditations that can make being mindful easier for you. It’s free to sign up and you can start your journey to enhance all the areas of life.

There are many ways to add mindfulness in your life and this is of the best ways to start. Being mindful has a lot more benefits than just healthier food habits and weight management. 

There are many mindfulness activities you can use to add mindfulness to your daily life and benefit from them. One such simple way is doing a ten-minute mindfulness meditation. 

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