Amazing Health Benefits of Mindful Eating
The term ‘mindful’ is most often used when we’re talking about meditation practices, in various forms. However, being consistently mindful throughout the day, in everything we do, leads to living in the present moment and feeling calm, centred and happy. Chances are, you already love to eat, but mindful meal times make the experience even better! Let’s take a look at the amazing health benefits of mindful eating.
Learn To Appreciate Tastes
Eating sometimes becomes something we do on the run. We scope out fast-food venues as soon as the hunger pangs start, inhale whatever we manage to buy and hurry back to work. Doing this spoils any appreciation we might have for food and turns something enjoyable, into a task to get done in a limited time frame.
With so many amazing options, from across the world, actually tasting and appreciating food is a simple act that can lead to everyday happiness. Considering we have to eat, we might as well make the most of delicious flavours, mouth-watering aromas and fresh treats. When we do, we become mindful of the happiness we can get, from the simple pleasure of it.
Enhance All Your Senses
Eating food is not just about satisfying your taste buds. You can engage all of your senses, to make meal times a feast of touch, scent, taste and even sound. Next time you’re thinking about what to make for dinner, take note of colourful foods that create an enticing, visual picture.
Then, touch your food to experience different textures. Smell everything you’re about to eat, before and after it’s cooked and appreciate the anticipation that comes from wonderful food scents. Listen to the sizzle of the fry pan when you’re cooking garlic and onions. By the time you’re ready to eat, you’ve stimulated all of your senses and doing this regularly will heighten them for future experiences.
Eat Less Food
If you’re watching TV while you eat or randomly going to the fridge for a bite all day, chances are you’re consuming much more food than you really need. Overeating can be triggered by emotional upsets, but often it’s just a matter of eating for the sake of it.
When you’re mindful about when, where and why you eat, it’s likely that you’ll eat less meals. Plus, the portions you have will be smaller, because you’re able to recognize when you’re full. Eating slowly and only when you need to, is more satisfying in the long run.
Develop Appreciation For Food
With an abundance of supermarkets, corner stores, restaurants and fast-food venues, it’s easy to take access to food for granted. Across the world, many people are not so lucky and would be amazed by the food wastage in First World countries.
Keeping this in mind when buying food, helps us to develop a healthy appreciation for it, which fosters an ‘attitude of gratitude’. Having gratitude for the simple things in life leads to happiness, which, in turn, offers endless health benefits. It also helps us to be mindful of wasting food, when we’re buying and eating it.
Control Your Weight
As soon as you become mindful about your eating habits, a weight loss program is ultra-easy to follow. Being mindful means knowing which foods help you to lose weight and which ones will lead you down the path to ill-health.
On top of that, when you start eating the right foods for your body, you’ll begin to crave them much more than you might crave sugar or fried foods. Then, when you’re eating healthy food, you’ll pay more attention to whether or not you’re full, so you can lose or maintain weight without the struggle.
Improve Your Digestive System
It’s a proven fact that eating in a relaxed state helps to improve your digestion. The next time you eat when you’re stressed, take notice of the way your stomach feels, if you get bloated or have cramps. Chances are, your body isn’t digesting your meal in the best way it can.
Learn to completely relax when you eat, by being mindful of every piece you put in your mouth. Make it easy to remember, by taking notice of everything about your food and thinking about it as you chew. You’ll notice the difference in your digestive system in no time.
Kick Bad Eating Habits
Do you have a bad habit of reaching for the vending machine at 3:00pm every day? How about waking up and craving sugary cereal, or drinking 6 cups of coffee by lunch time?
Mindful eating leads to kicking bad eating habits, by stopping to notice them in the first place. If you love to eat fried food for lunch, for example, stop and really think about what you’re eating, while you’re doing it. Then, remember what time of day it is and why you craved it in the first place. Swap it out with something healthier at the same time each day and you’ll be on your way to healthier habits.
Start Cooking Your Own Meals
When you really take notice of everything you eat, getting takeaway or eating in restaurants all the time takes on a different meaning. While it’s fun as a social occasion, eating out is a sure way to put on weight, mainly because you never quite know what you’re getting.
Cooking your own food, the majority of the time, helps you to stay mindful about what goes into your body. This leads to much healthier choices and the ability to stick to your health and fitness plans, without any hidden setbacks.
Stay In The Present Moment
As with pretty much everything in life, enjoying what’s happening in the present moment is the key to health and happiness. The past is where it belongs…in the past, and the future doesn’t exist, so, in truth, the present moment is all there is.
Eating mindfully is an amazing way to practise staying in the present moment, as it teaches you how to focus on what’s happening, rather than the jumble of thoughts that run through your mind. This leads to happier moments and a healthier body.
Start today, to reap the amazing health benefits of mindful eating. Your body, mind and spirit will thank you for it.
Nicole Leigh West is the author of ‘The Gypsy Trail’ YA fiction novel, an internationally recognised Travel and Lifestyle writer, Reiki Practitioner, mentor and the joyful creator of The Spiritual Room.