Eating is meant to be natural, and we all look forward to the food. It can be for any reason, like hunger, being stressed, emotions like happy or sad, meeting new people or as a next meal. As we all know, food nourishes us and gives us energy so that we keep going. Along with energy and nourishment, it also brings happiness, a sense of warm welcome, comfort, and so on.
Apart from this, food is easily available all around us and with various options. But still, we all struggle to make healthy choices related to food. It can be due to the unrecognized triggers that leave us feeling powerless to change. Hence, to overcome such triggers one has to consider eating mindfully.
Mindful eating is a fairly simple step to follow - one just needs to be in the present moment and have an intention and attention without judging any food they are going to eat or its experience of eating. It means one has to sense the importance of every bite of the meal and its effect on their health by listening to their body and making the choices accordingly. Though it looks simple it’s an art to make the right choices related to food.
Eating mindfully is about expanding our awareness around food habits, i.e making a conscious decision with or without distractions about why and what we eat and when we eat. These choices may vary as per our activity and day requirement and with so many other factors like hunger, emotions or stress, and so on.
One may get confused to sense the feeling of hunger and satisfaction. Hunger can be of different types it can be an anatomical hunger such as eye-appealing, induced by smell, mouth hunger (influence by our upbringing or socially influenced), real hunger (stomach rumbling), cellular hunger as a craving, or mind hunger (being anxious), dealing with some situations or emotional hunger which can be satisfying where anyone may get confused with it.
Tip- Be mindful about the feeling of hunger and the satisfaction
When we are happy or joyful, we release more happy hormones like dopamine, and oxytocin (which provide pleasure), serotonin (satisfies the appetite, mood, and sleep), endorphins (triggers positive feelings) which help us digest all the scrumptious food we have. Even if the portion size is big, we can digest it properly. On the other hand, when we are unhappy, we release these hormones in lesser quantity and get depressed by the emotions. Hence this slows down the metabolism of digestion and absorption of the nutrients, which eventually can trigger health issues.
Tip- Any meal should be consumed with a happy feeling and gratitude.
Along with hunger, emotion, stress also matters. The eating pattern can depend on how one deals with a stressful situation and how one takes it. Their eating habit changes accordingly as they either do overeating, restrictive eating, instinctive eating or have an eat-repent-repeat cycle. This eating pattern can get triggered by physical, emotional, or environmental urges, and their portion choices change as per their hunger, emotions, or dealing with stress.
Tip- One should consider their eating pattern. What type of eating habits do they have, where and how are they going to use their energy?
DAY TO DAY ROUTINE
In this gadget-flooded world, many of us don’t even realize that we had or had not eaten our meal. Some of us eat mindlessly wherever and whenever we can. For example, in front of the computer, around a conference table, or on the go. Such mindless eating can result in negative health consequences like digestive disorders and obesity. On the other hand, eating mindfully encourages to development of a healthy relationship with the food by aiding proper digestion and absorption of its nutrients.
Tip-One needs to consider a balanced plate while eating so that they can take control of their picking unhealthy choices of food. A balanced plate will not only provide energy but will also provide all the essential nutrients required for a healthy metabolism.
THE BENEFITS OF MINDFUL EATING
Eating mindfully benefits the immune system by shaping overall nutrient intake. According to the studies, it helps in promoting overall better dietary quality, treating eating disorders, reducing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, helps in managing diabetes, reduces binge eating habits, helps in losing or maintaining weight, and many more.
TAKE AWAY MESSAGE
We can accommodate this art by making the right choices, by expanding our knowledge related to food habits, portion size, and eating mindfully.