Have you been trying to lose weight but have no idea how to go about it?
Diets are never as easy as people make them seem. As you set out to change your eating habits for the better, it's normal to struggle to quit some of them.
But struggling doesn't have to be a common, everyday part of your health and wellness journey. Instead, you can practice mindful eating and pay attention to your body's natural cues about food and other ingestible substances.
But how do you implement mindful eating? We'll go into 7 mindful eating tips below.
What Is Mindful Eating?
Our bodies are designed to crave food. In many ways, food is not our enemy. In fact, we use food to nourish ourselves and keep us flourishing and thriving.
When you set out on any health journey, you should take time to recognize food for what it really is: delicious nourishment, made to keep your body healthy and strong. You don't need to demonize food to feel good, and mindful eating doesn't encourage you to deprive yourself.
Instead, mindful eating encourages you to use the Buddhist concept of mindfulness to deal with any underlying, unhealthy eating triggers and enjoy your meals. It involves actions such as listening to your body, eating slowly, enjoying tastes, textures, and colors, and developing an appreciative mindset toward your food.
How do you go about mindful eating? Here are 7 helpful mindful eating tips:
1. Pay Attention to Your Eating Triggers
Do you have anything besides hunger that triggers your desire to eat?
Many people deal with eating triggers on a day to day basis. Some eat in response to stress, while others might habitually have a luscious dessert every night, even when they're really not hungry for it. Having triggers is normal, but they're important to identify when you embark on your healthy eating journey.
To do this, take stock of yourself every time you get the urge to eat. Ask if you're actually hungry, or if you just want to eat because of something else. If the answer is hunger, reach for some healthy snacks or a meal.
2. Learn to Handle Your Non-Hunger Eating Triggers
Did you find that you have some eating triggers that are not related to hunger?
Don't worry. The next step of eating mindfully consists of learning to fulfill the needs behind the triggers in ways that aren't related to food. This looks different for different people, and you should take into consideration the full scope of your lifestyle and needs when finding ways to take care of your triggers.
For instance, if you eat when you become anxious or depressed, ask yourself if there's anything you can do to calm yourself down or boost your mood. Rather than eat, think about taking a calming walk, watching your favorite TV show, meditating, or talking to a friend. If you can't think of anything to do, or if the symptoms have persisted for more than 2 weeks, consider seeing a therapist.
3. Eat Slowly
In our fast-paced society, we often cram things into our bodies as we're running out the door or rushing dinner as we hurry to get ourselves on to the next event. We often don't feel like we can linger at the dinner table and enjoy ourselves with all of our responsibilities weighing us down.
But did you know that mindful eating actually encourages you to consume your food more slowly?
Eating slowly not only allows you to appreciate your food more, but it also gives you a chance to relax and enjoy either some quiet moments or the company of the people around you.
Some science also supports the advice to eat slowly. It takes your brain about 20 minutes to register that your stomach is full. Because of this, if you eat too quickly, you might think you still need more food when you've actually eaten enough.
4. Follow Your Body's Cues
Do you ever eat something you think is completely healthy and good for you, only to feel sick or unenergized later?
Your body has natural dietary cues meant to clue you into what it needs. While every person needs the same basic nutrients as well as water, our bodies sometimes do react differently to foods.
This means you shouldn't just brush off any physical reactions to what you eat. Likely, if your body rejects something, it means you have a sensitivity to it and should adjust your diet accordingly.
One of the biggest differences between mindful eating vs mindless eating is growing more acquainted with your body and its specific needs. Mindless eating encourages you to refocus your attention so that you eat food that nourishes you.
5. Appreciate the Food
Whenever you sit down and eat a meal, take the time to show true appreciation of the dish. Those who practice mindfulness train themselves to become more aware of their surroundings and firmly root themselves in the present, which you can do with food as well.
Start by taking in the aroma and, if applicable, the presentation. As you take your first bite, take note of all the flavors that fill your mouth. Concentrate on the texture, the taste, and anything else that stands out to you. Don't let your thoughts wander. Instead, focus on the here and now and what's in front of you.
This is especially helpful if you often find yourself thinking about unhealthy cravings. Focusing your attention on the flavors of healthy food helps you rewire your thinking and focus on what you're enjoying about your meal.
6. Avoid Addictive Foods
Addictive foods comprise one of the greatest stumbling blocks to mindful eating. If you regularly consume foods that contain ingredients such as caffeine, sugar, or even carbs or dairy, you might tune into your body and find that it's calling for that delicious ice cream, not a well-balanced salad.
While indulging in these foods every once in a while isn't bad, eating them routinely can do irreversible damage to your health. So, when you listen to your body, do yourself the additional favor of asking whether or not the foods it wants to eat are actually good for you.
7. Steer Clear of Excessive Hunger
Want to when you're most likely to slip up in your mindful eating habits?
When you've waited so long to eat that the idea of resisting unhealthy food seems awful. This happens because under-eating actually exacerbates your cravings.
To combat this, eat just enough food at regular times during the day so that you don't grow extremely hungry later.
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Want to Implement These Mindful Eating Tips?
When you first start out on your weight loss journey, the prospect of eating healthy can seem overwhelming.
It doesn't have to be, though, if you follow the above mindful eating tips. Mindfulness is an incredible tool that can help you identify why you're eating and give you an overall more positive experience.
Ready to implement these tips? Order from us today! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us.