Most people are aware that what they eat has an impact on their health and wellbeing, but many don’t consider that how they eat also has an effect. Setting aside time to eat mindfully can make the difference between fueling and harming your body. Eating mindfully means being present while you dine, instead of distractedly eating, like most people do. It’s common for people to eat in their cars, in front of their TVs, and in emotional moments when they need comfort. This often leads to overeating and eating foods that are not in line with your health goals. Therefore, mindful eating is worth making time for. In this blog, we will go over some ways you can incorporate mindful eating into your life.
Listen to Your Body
Your mind may tell you, “I need a cookie,” but what does your body say? Most of the time, people are tuned into their thoughts more than physical sensations, making them think they are hungry when they are really responding to an emotion. Whether you are bored, sad, lonely, or tired, chances are, you have eaten emotionally before. It’s important to be able to differentiate between an emotional want and genuine hunger, and that comes from listening to your body. When you feel the need to eat, take a moment and scan your body. Are you feeling lightheaded and having a hard time focusing? Is your stomach growling? Focus on what your body is telling you, not your mind.
One of the most powerful ways you can eat more mindfully is simply by slowing down the eating process. It takes your body 20 minutes after it is satiated to communicate this to your brain, which is why it is so easy to overeat. Slowing down, your body and brain are able to better align themselves, making it more likely that you will eat the appropriate amount. You can slow down your eating by making a point to take small bites, chew each bite 20 times, put your fork down between bites, and eat with your non-dominant hand.
Create the Right Eating Environment
It’s much easier to eat mindfully when you’re in the right environment. Are you hurriedly eating a cheeseburger in your car between appointments? Do you look through the cabinet or refrigerator at random times throughout the day, always snacking? Mindful eating is about thinking proactively about our meals and creating an eating environment that signals to our brains when it is time to eat. When you are having a meal, sit down at a table, take your food out of a container and onto a plate or in a bowl, and use a utensil to eat. It’s also helpful to only eat with others. This is not only a great way to maintain your relationships, it also naturally slows you down as you enjoy conversation.
We hope this blog will help you eat more mindfully. At Fit in New England, we want to help you accomplish your health and fitness goals. Contact us for a gym in Medford!