Modern life today is stressful and fast-paced. Meals are eaten on the run, gobbled down behind the wheel of a car or consumed quickly with one hand texting on the Smart Phone. All of these bad habits can lead to weight gain, stress and health problems such as heartburn and obesity. A better option is mindful eating.
Mindfulness means being present in the moment and focusing on what you are doing now. There’s no room for multi-tasking, thinking about your long to do list or regretting a work mistake you made yesterday. Your focus should be on the present. Mindful eating means focusing on your food and nothing else.
How To Eat Mindfully
Eating mindfully means eliminating distractions such as cell phones, television and ear buds. It means keeping your focus on your food. Mindful eating should be done slowly. Savor every bite. Focus on the smell, the taste and the sensation of the food being chewed and then swallowed. This takes some practice in our hyperconnected, busy world but can be done.
One way to practice mindful eating is through a chocolate meditation. Get a small piece of chocolate such as a square of chocolate or a Hershey’s Kiss. You can also use a raisin instead of chocolate.
Take a few deep breaths and then take a small bite. Notice the smell, the taste and the feeling as the chocolate melts in your mouth. Then, swallow and feel the sensation of the chocolate going down your throat. Take another tiny bite, and repeat the process.
Keep your focus on the chocolate. Don’t think about anything else. This is easier said than done. If thoughts of something else pop up into your mind, don’t let it get you down. Simply bring yourself back to what you were doing: eating the chocolate. Remind yourself not to think of anything else right now.
The Benefits of Mindful Eating
Mindful eating has several physical and psychological benefits. People who eat mindfully have less digestive problems such as gas and heartburn. Eating too fast taxes the digestive organs and leads to more food literally going to waste. Eating slowly helps your organs to digest the food more thoroughly so your body can get the most out of the food you feed it.
Eating mindfully can help you lose weight. Many people gobble down their food and don’t notice what or how much they’re eating. It takes a little time for the body to signal the brain that it’s full. People who eat too fast often eat too much because they don’t wait for the full signal. This can lead to weight gain.
Mindful eaters eat more slowly and pay attention to what they’re eating. By doing so, they eat less and give their body time to signal their brain that they’re full.
People who eat mindfully often find that they’re more relaxed. Stress is no longer a part of their meals. This makes meal time more pleasant.
Mindful eaters enjoy their food more. Eating becomes a pleasure. They notice what they’re eating and savor every bite – especially the chocolate.
This article was based on one I wrote for Wikinut.
This aricle was also based on my own experiences with practicing mindfulness.