Ever noticed how a packet of crisps or your favourite biscuits can miraculously disappear when you’re munching away while watching TV? Before you know it, you’ve finished the packet and worst of all, you can barely remember eating them!
Mindless eating is so easy to do, especially as more and more of us are retreating to the sofa to eat our dinners or indulge in our evening snacks in front of the TV (30% of us in the UK!). But there’s one really big reason why mindless eating could be negatively affecting our health.
When we’re not conscious of what we’re consuming, i.e when our minds are distracted by stimuli like the TV, our bodies find it hard to recognise fullness cues. Not only does it mean we’re likely to eat more because we don’t feel satisfied, we’re also less conscious about what we’re eating too. So, what’s the solution?
What is mindful eating?
Mindful eating is about being conscious of what, how and why we’re eating so we can make better decisions about our diets. As the phrase suggests, mindful eating involves practicing mindfulness during meal times or when we’re snacking. Essentially, it encourages us to slow down and appreciate the foods we’re eating, learn how to listen to our bodies and tune in to our fullness cues.
Practising mindful eating can also help us develop a better relationship with food. It’s common to use food as a crutch for boredom, stress, or other emotions that lead us towards unhealthy eating habits like over-indulging, over-eating and bingeing. When we practice eating mindfully we’re much more aware of our unhealthy eating behaviours and have the power to change them.
There are plenty of reasons why you could benefit from eating more mindfully, but here are just a few…
What are the benefits of mindful eating?
You’re more likely to make better choices about what to eat
When we’re present, we’re much better able to consciously consider our options for food and will be more likely to choose foods that are nutrient-dense and make us feel great.
You become more in-tune with your hunger and fullness signals
Being able to recognise when you’re actually full and actually hungry is key to creating a healthy relationship with food and avoiding the harmful cycle of bingeing and restricting.
You digest your food better and absorb nutrients better
Practicing mindfulness can help calm your nervous system and avoid triggering stress responses that affect your digestion. Eating slower and more mindfully keeps your body calm, allowing better digestion and assimilation of the vital nutrients in your food!
You enjoy food more!
How often do you indulge in your favourite food only to zone out and never fully enjoy it? Mindful eating can help you truly enjoy your food as well as making you more aware of when you feel satisfied.
You don’t find yourself emotionally eating
When you become more mindful of your eating habits, you naturally begin to pay more attention not only to what you’re eating but also why you’re eating. You’re able to ask yourself, “Am I truly hungry right now?” or “What am I hoping this food will do for me?”. The answer to these questions will help you understand the underlying reason behind your cravings and give you the power to make better decisions about your food.
How to eat mindfully
Firstly, set aside time for eating. Try to get out of the habit of grabbing something quick to eat while you’re working through lunch, or sitting in front of the TV while you have dinner. Sit at the table and make your meal your main focus.
Next, simply tune in to what you’re eating. Mindfulness practices encourage us to use all of our senses to develop a better sense of awareness. How does your food smell? How does it taste? What are the textures like? How does it make you feel?
Enjoy your meal mindfully, listen out for those fullness cues and when your body tells you that you’ve had enough and you feel satisfied, stop.
It’s as simple as that but creating and implementing new habits isn’t always as easy as it seems. If you’d like a hand putting new habits in place so you can work towards achieving your 2022 health goals then I have just the thing!
Join me for a FREE Online Workshop on 18th March at 12pm where I will take you through the 3 Secrets to Sustainable Weight-Loss and explain how to lose weight for good without counting calories and relying on willpower. You can register and find out more here: http://irinanailer.com/workshop