Mindful Eating Strategies For Everyday Life
Navigating through our busy world and hectic days practicing mindful eating can be extremely challenging. It’s probably not realistic to suggest that we can or should try to practice mindfulness at every meal. With friends, coworkers, and family distractions and obligations, it’s just not fair or reasonable to those around us to lengthen mealtime to accommodate our desire for mindful eating on a daily basis.
However, there are other ways to practice mindful eating in a less formal and strict sense. While you may not be able to take five minutes per bite savoring each morsel of your food, there are some informal ways to incorporate mindfulness into your day that accomplish the goal.
Mindful eating really just means being fully present and aware while eating and devoting full attention to our thoughts, feelings and physical sensations during meals. This can be accomplished in several easy to implement ways.
Choosing food that is nourishing
This is probably the most basic first step to mindful eating. For many of us, grabbing an unhealthy meal or snack because we’re pressed for time becomes a way too frequent occurrence. In order to combat this, try to make cognizant decisions about the food you’re choosing and make choices based on nutritional value for your body.
Pay attention to satiety cues
Another very simple way to implement mindfulness into your eating is to pay close attention to when your body signals you that you’re full. Try to slow down and allow your body and mind to communicate to each other that you’ve had enough. Eating quickly and then eating past the point of fullness is very common. It actually takes the body 20 minutes to send the message to our brain that we’re full.
Familiarize yourself with your true hunger signals
Try to recognize whether you’re truly hungry or if you’re eating as an emotional response to a trigger. For example, often when we’re stressed, depressed, bored or angry we turn to food in order to soothe those feelings away. Pay attention to your body. Do you feel lightheaded or weak? Is your stomach growling? How long ago was your last meal? These indicators will easily tell you if you’re actually hungry or if you’re reaching for that cookie based on an emotional trigger.
Create better meal environments
We have all been guilty of mindlessly snacking on something as we do something else whether it’s watching TV, in the car, or working on the computer. An easy way to be mindful is to sit down when you eat, put your food onto a plate and actually focus on the activity of eating your meal. Your brain registers this as eating a meal, and the likelihood of feeling satiated at the end of the meal is higher than if you ate something in the midst of doing another activity.
Ultimately, eating mindfully can be incorporated into our daily lives in a way that actually works for the chaotic and busy world that we live in. By taking small steps, we can become more satisfied and healthier at the same time.