Some people are genetically blessed with nearly ideal bodies; for the rest of us, maintaining flawless look is an everlasting battle. Counting calories, strict diet plan, and exercising for hours daily can be effective to some extent… But is it the best way, really?
Here’s the deal:
Making a few small, seemingly insignificant changes in your day to day eating routine can have a massive impact on your weight. If you are like us and prefer to have a strategy for long-term improvement, as opposed to short-lived effects of strict diets, mindful eating may be the method you’ve been looking for.
Below are the 5 ways mindful eating can transform your struggles with food and help you stay slim… for life!
1. You learn to only eat when you’re hungry
Learning to eat when your body tells you to eat ― not your mind ― is a game changer. Think about just how often eating is a response to not physical, but emotional needs! Frustration, stress, and boredom are, unfortunately, great appetizers. Mindful eating is about finding ways to slow down, think twice, and eat intentionally. Caught yourself munching on a sweet treat? Ask yourself: Why am I eating this? Does my body need it, or just my mind?
Learning to listen deeply to our bodies enables us to base our meals on the physical cues (growling stomach, lowered energy, dizziness), as opposed to emotional cravings.
2. You learn to stop eating when you’re sated
For too many of us, eating fast means eating more. Slowing down and listening deeply to your body will enable you to recognize subtle signals not only for hunger, but also for satisfaction. You will learn to savor and enjoy your meals, and to notice when you are full and should no longer keep eating.
This is admittedly one of the healthiest habits you can possibly develop: gradual and careful reductions in portion size has been linked to longer, more active lives in some mammals, and it’s possible that human bodies work by the same rules, according to some tantalizing scientific studies.
3. You learn to enjoy the taste of healthy food
The best thing about mindful eating is that this practice is about adding, not limiting. It’s not a diet! It’s actually quite the opposite. To eat mindfully means to experience food more intensely, and to get more pleasure out of cooking and eating. Which means that no matter what you choose to eat, you will enjoy it a lot more!
Shifting the focus from what you eat to how you eat it, and making a conscious effort to appreciate and respect the food in front of you, will make it infinitely easier for you to savor simple, natural, whole foods.
4. You realize that unhealthy food isn’t as tasty as you thought
When it comes to weight loss or healthy eating in general, one of the biggest struggles is to stay away from the foods that you know are bad for your body. Somehow it always turns out that our favorite, tastiest foods are exactly the ones we should be cutting from our diets!
Eating intentionally teaches you to pay attention not only to how the food tastes, but also to how it makes you feel as you eat it, digest it, and later throughout the day. With just a little more mindfulness like this, you may begin to notice that certain foods don’t really feel all that good to eat anymore, and that you are no longer addicted to them. You will learn to stop your autopilot of reaching out to that pack of nachos, or maybe realize only halfway through the pack that your body has had enough, and that you’re actually craving some greens.
5. You learn to make a tiny ceremony out of every meal
The art of mindfulness offers us an incredible opportunity to connect more deeply to everyone and everything involved in creating our meal, from those who planted and harvested the ingredients, to those who stocked the shelves, to those who cooked and served the dish.
When you slow down to consider the story of your meal along with the flavor, texture, spiciness, aroma and other details of it, and savor all the various sensations of eating it, you’ll gain an infinitely deeper appreciation for your food.
We encourage you to work mindfulness into your daily food habits, one small step at a time. And remember…
Here’s to your healthy and joyful relationship with food!