Mindful eating has shown to help to lose weight, reduce overeating, and to have control over our eating habits.
Are you able to remember what you ate yesterday? Do you remember how it tasted? Unfortunately, for most of us the answer is simple: we don’t. We’re so immersed in our daily routines, that our food and eating becomes mindless and unhealthy, instead of happy and nurturing.
Harvard psychologist Matt A. Killingsworth used a special “track your happiness” iPhone app to gather research on what makes us happy. According to data gathered from 15,000 individuals, we’re happiest when we’re mindful of the present moment. That leads us to at least two questions: what is to be mindful? And, how can we be mindful?Are you able to remember what you ate yesterday? Do you remember how it tasted? Unfortunately, for most of us the answer is simple: we don’t. We’re so immersed in our daily routines, that our food and eating becomes mindless and unhealthy, instead of happy and nurturing.
Believe it or not, mindfulness is a basic human ability. It’s just about being fully present and aware of where we are and what we are doing, without being overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. Or as Jon Kabat-Zinn’s defines it: “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”
Mindfulness involves, thus, a conscious direction of our awareness, one that can be certainly taken into every single aspect of our lives, one of them being, eating.
Knowing that you are eating is not the same as eating mindfully
Food can nourish us or harm us in many ways, but it does a lot more: is the fuel that supports us, and helps us to feel centered and present in our lives. Once we become aware of eating, we become aware of its process. We’re deliberately noticing the sensations and responses of our mind and body, not only to the food, but to the moment of being eating it.
Though there are a variety of approaches to mindful eating, some rooted in Zen and other forms of Buddhism, others tied to yoga, here are some simple habits you can adopt to become mindful about your food and its benefits:
- Make a shopping list. Be careful just to put in it food that will nurture your body. I’d strongly recommend you buy only the things you want to eat, but which are consistent with a healthy diet.
- Cook for yourself. It will not only be cheaper, but by doing so, you’ll be aware of the whole process (you’ll be cooking mindfully!), besides being a way of self-caring. Remember, you don’t need to be a five-star chef, keep it simple.
- Take your time for eating. This means two things: do not eat in your desk! If you can’t go back home or have a meal in a restaurant, find a nice bench in a park. Once you’re settled, eat slowly! Notice the tastes and textures in your food and how they make you feel, which also means to notice when you’re satisfied and to stop eating.
- Eat with those you love. Even if you’re not able to share every meal with them, try to do it as often as you can. Enjoy their presence; enjoy the food you’re sharing. And, please, don’t forget to put away any device!
- Make peace with food. You don’t have to worry every second about calories, fat content, and weight-gain. If your meals are planned in advance, and based on a healthy diet (you can try with our food guide), just enjoy them!
Eating mindfully is a skill that might not be acquired overnight. It’s something you should practice, knowing for sure there’ll be more than one moment in which you forget to do it; starts and stops. But if you #DecideItNow, with practice and attention, you’ll become pretty good at it!