Mindful eating has become a well-used term over recent years. But do you really know what this entails? Gillian Killiner Specialist Dietitian explores this topic further, so you don’t have to.
Did you know this concept of mindful eating has roots in Buddhist teachings?
Mindful eating is not a diet, or about giving up anything at all. It’s about experiencing the pleasure of food giving more thought to what’s on your plate each time you sit down to eat.
Yes…. Sitting down, an act often forgotten in this busy world we live in. Or did live in before COVID-19.
Interestingly with this current pause, many parts of life have changed and so with this in mind it may be a good time to embrace the act of mindful eating as many of use are working from home and still eating mindlessly.
So what do you need to do for mindful eating?
We need to really assess first and foremost how we conduct our day and the priority we give to the act of eating.
Do any of the following resonate with you?
Are you each day:
- • Racing out the door first thing with a coffee when not in lockdown?
- • Running around the kitchen taking bites as you feed the children?
- • Are you someone who sits in a van, lorry or car all day and eats food from the passenger seat as you go?
- • Maybe you sit at your desk all day not having a lunch break but eat as you work.
- • Do you eat fast just so you can get onto the next part of your day?
Interestingly if you are eating while under stress or distracted by something else, your body doesn’t know that it’s supposed to be digesting. Stress stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. As you dash out the door in the morning, coffee in hand, or eat lunch in front of a computer screen or in the car the message you are giving your body is “don’t digest.”
If you continually do this you will struggle to absorb your nutrients fully and possibly also suffer from mechanical issues like burping, bloating and reflux.
This knock-on effect can also lead to weight gain as you are not registering the foods you are consuming and likely overeating.
To become mindful is to retrain the way you think about food.
How to retrain yourself for mindful eating habits
Developing a Mindful Eating Practice
1) Sit down to eat and drink in a comfortable environment
2) Ensure you are in a relaxed state
3) Prepare your food from good quality ingredients ( not a problem if it has been made the night before). It is important to use fresh wholesome ingredients to nourish the body.
4) Before eating take a look at the food – check it for colour, freshness, smell, crunch, zing, creaminess, saltiness, sweetness etc rate the food.
5) Chew slowly and acknowledge that you are eating a bite at a time and tasting eat bite.
6) If you are eating a wholesome diet this should not be an issue.
I find many of my clients that come to me have not engaged in mindful eating before. When they do, they really are surprised at how their eating habits positively improve.
What next for your mindful eating?
If you are unsure of how to change your eating habits, or need help optimising the foods you eat please do contact us. We would love to help you or your family and friends with any nutrition related queries big or small.
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