7 SIMPLE MINDFUL EATING CUES...
Mindful eating is another wonderful practice to adopt to help reduce cravings and find more joy and satisfaction in our meals (as well as our life in general!) Mindfulness involves practising awareness and being present in the moment without judgement; mindful eating is a specific branch of mindfulness with powerful benefits!
History of Mindful eating:
Mindful eating originated from the Buddhist tradition of mindfulness, which emphasizes being fully present in the moment and observing one's experiences without judgment. The concept of mindful eating was popularized in the West by Jon Kabat-Zinn, a pioneer in the field of mindfulness-based stress reduction. He introduced the practice of mindful eating as a way to help individuals develop a more intentional and healthier relationship with food.
In recent years, the popularity of mindful eating has grown, and it has been integrated into various health and wellness programs as a way to address a range of issues, such as emotional eating, binge eating, and weight management. The principles of mindful eating have also been adapted to fit the needs of different cultures and populations, making it a widely accessible and relevant practice for many people.
Studies have found that mindful eating is associated with healthier weight outcomes, lower body mass index (BMI), and a significant reduction in hunger attacks. Mindful eating can also help improve digestion by promoting increased chewing and salivation, which enhances digestive secretions and can lead to better nutrient absorption. Furthermore, mindful eating has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and emotional eating patterns, and increase happiness. Lastly, mindful eating can strengthen our relationship with food, as it encourages awareness of hunger and fullness cues, which can lead to better decision-making and healthier eating habits. By paying more attention to the experience of eating, people who practice mindful eating often also report increased enjoyment and satisfaction with food.
How to practice Mindful eating:
Use the following 7 cues and tips to help more mindfulness around your eating:
-Eat in a stress-free environment: eating while calm helps ensure our Parasympathetic Nervous System, also known as ‘rest and digest’, is activated. This allows for optimal digestion and also helps us to be more present while eating
-Avoid devices and distractions: Ensure that your phone, TV, laptop, work, etc are all out of sight while eating! Allow yourself to sit in a space where you can really slow down and take time to enjoy your meal
-Consider all of your senses: What can you see? What can you smell? What can you hear? What can you taste? What can you feel on your skin?
-Give thanks: For the food you are about to enjoy, and to everyone involved in the process of getting your food to the plate in front of you: From the people who planted the vegetables, the owners of the farm, the person who drove the delivery truck, the shop attendants who stacked the shelves, and even the person who sold you the oven so you could cook the food! Give thanks to eneryone involved
-Think of the positive health benefits: Research shows that simply knowing the positive health benefits of our behaviours makes us experience those same health benefits more! Consider all of the gut-bacteria feeding fibre, the vitamins and minerals that will give you energy, the protein to help maintain muscles, keep you happy and balance hormones.
-Eat slowly and savour every bite: Chew your food until it is basically a liquid, and allow yourself the opportunity to really taste what you are eating. Enjoy every moment and relish in this wonderful time you have enjoying such a wholesome meal.
-Check-in with yourself: Try to identify and understand your cravings, rather than automatically satisfying them. Check-in with your hunger and fullness levels, and stop eating when you feel satisfied, and eat without judgment, and appreciate the experience of eating without feeling guilty.