Happy New Year everyone! Being it is the start of a brand new year, I know many people are looking for new ways to strengthen their health & well being. Losing weight & eating healthier are likely at the top of that goal list.
Mindful Eating is a healthy living strategy that is clinically proven to help people gain control over their eating habits which can lead to reduced stress, improved mental focus, weight loss & many health other benefits, including:
- You learn to eat when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re sated.
- You learn to really taste food, and to enjoy the taste of healthy food.
- You slowly start to realize that unhealthy food isn’t as tasty as you thought, nor does it make you feel very good.
- As a result of the above three points, you will often lose weight if you’re overweight.
- You begin to sort through the emotional issues you have around food and eating. This takes a bit longer, but it’s important.
- Social overeating can become less of a problem — you can eat mindfully while socializing, with practice, and not overeat.
- You begin to enjoy the eating experience more, and as a result enjoy life more, when you’re more present.
- It can become a mindfulness ritual you look forward to.
- You learn how food affects your mood and energy throughout the day.
- You learn what food best fuels your exercise and work and play.
So how does Mindful Eating work? You start by practicing Mindfulness – learning to be in the present moment while you are eating, fully attending to what you are eating, where you are eating, how you are are eating. Easier said then done in today’s busy world I know, but if you want something different you must be willing to try something different – so think of this in terms of working smarter not harder & see what you can do to start incorporating a couple of these ‘8 Steps to Mindful Eating’ by Harvard Health into your life:
1. Begin with your shopping list. Consider the health value of every item you add to your list and stick to it to avoid impulse buying when you’re shopping. Fill most of your cart in the produce section and avoid the center aisles—which are heavy with processed foods—and the chips and candy at the check-out counter.
2. Come to the table with an appetite— but not when ravenously hungry. If you skip meals, you may be so eager to get anything in your stomach that your first priority is filling the void instead of enjoying your food.
3. Start with a small portion. It may be helpful to limit the size of your plate to nine inches or less.
4. Appreciate your food. Pause for a minute or two before you begin eating to contemplate everything and everyone it took to bring the meal to your table. Silently express your gratitude for the opportunity to enjoy delicious food and the companions you’re enjoying it with.
5. Bring all your senses to the meal. When you’re cooking, serving, and eating your food, be attentive to color, texture, aroma, and even the sounds different foods make as you prepare them. As you chew your food, try identifying all the ingredients, especially seasonings.
6. Take small bites. It’s easier to taste food completely when your mouth isn’t full. Put down your utensil between bites.
7. Chew thoroughly. Chew well until you can taste the essence of the food. (You may have to chew each mouthful 20 to 40 times, depending on the food.) You may be surprised at all the flavors that are released.
8. Eat slowly. If you follow the advice above, you won’t bolt your food down. Devote at least five minutes to mindful eating before you chat with your tablemates.
What possibilities lie ahead for you?!? What is stopping you from making this your best year yet? One small step in the right direction is all you need to get started.
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