Mindful Eating: A simple way to control your cravings and loose weight

Posted on 2021-08-09 04:45:26

A simple guide to mindful eating

What is mindful eating?

First, let’s understand the concept of mindfulness and how you can apply it in your day-to-day routine.

Mindfulness can be explained as being fully aware of each moment in your life. It trains your mind to be present, focused, and relaxed. When practicing mindfulness while eating, you become more aware of the various cues of your body including hunger and cravings. This awareness leads to a state of control over your eating habits.

So, whenever you start binge eating, you can backtrack and gain control over the habit successfully. Mindful eating is a proven method of promoting weight loss and improving your overall wellbeing. It offers healthy, long-term results in contrast to rigorous dieting which for the most part, will only last for a short time.

Mindful eating includes

  • Slow and controlled eating
  • Getting rid of distractions and focusing on food during meals
  • Training your mind to listen to your body and eat only until you are full
  • Distinguishing between true hunger and other non-hunger cues and cravings
  • Engaging the senses and bringing focus to the colors, smell, texture, sound, and flavor of food
  • Learning to cope with guilt and anxiety about food
  • Eating to maintain overall health and wellbeing
  • Understanding the effect of food on your feelings and figure
  • Appreciating food

These 7 steps will help you start your journey towards mindful eating.

1.Avoid buying unhealthy food

Mindful eating should start from the moment you buy your food at the store. Always opt for healthy food and avoid types of food that contain high amounts of fat, cholesterol, and sugar. This way, you will not be eating too much unhealthy food at home. Minimize take-outs and try to cook your own meals in different methods to make healthy food appetizing. And, stop rewarding yourself with take-outs and fast food for achieving goals in your life. Always think about the effect of food on your overall health.

2.Decrease variety and eat high volume food

This is a technique to implement if you are in a situation where it is impossible to avoid unhealthy food. When there are more options, your brain gets interested in the different colors, textures, and tastes of food, making you want to eat more. Sticking to two or three varieties when eating will help decrease your appetite.

However, keep in mind that following this no-variety rule only applies to unhealthy food. Eating a variety of healthy foods is very beneficial for your health. If you find yourself eating too much unhealthy food during meal times, opt for high volume food such as vegetables and fruits. These are healthy and will make you feel full in less time.

3.Use smaller plates/ bowls

When using larger containers, you’ll end up eating more because the container can carry more food. Large containers can also make food portions appear smaller. So, you may not notice the amount of food in the container. Smaller containers, on the other hand, make portions appear larger, discouraging overconsumption. So, switching to small plates or bowls is a great technique to become more mindful about the quantity of food you consume. Likewise, you can pick taller glasses to trick your brain into drinking more water.

4.Eat slowly and chew thoroughly

When eating, rather than rushing through your food, try to chew well and enjoy the flavor. It takes some time for the brain to feel full. So, when you eat slowly, you are giving the brain ample time to send fullness signals to the rest of the body. This will help you to feel full without overeating. Chewing your food thoroughly also promotes easy digestion.

If you are having trouble eating at a slow pace, try handling food with your non-dominant hand or use chopsticks instead of forks. Remember to be mindful and stop eating when you are no longer feeling hungry.

5.Remove distractions during meals

Do you find yourself working in front of a computer, playing video games, or looking at your smartphone or TV during meals? These digital distractions will make it hard to keep your focus on what you consume. When practicing mindful eating, you need to focus on your food for the best results. So, unplug your devices and leave your smartphone somewhere away from you.

6.Eat only when you are hungry

It is important to identify real hunger from other triggers to reduce overeating. Whenever you feel the need to eat, ask yourself some questions. Am I really hungry? Why am I eating? Is the food I am eating healthy for my body? These questions will help you become aware of your eating habits. If you are not really hungry, stop eating and focus on something else. If the habit is recurring, try to figure out the root cause of your habit. For example, overeating can be triggered due to feeling too stressed, powerless, or emotional. After identifying the trigger, focus on getting rid of it to restore your overall health and wellbeing.

7.Maintain a food diary

A food diary can be used to record all information about your meals including the food you ate, how you felt before, during, and after the meal, your mood and stress level, and so on. Keeping a food diary will help you to become more mindful about what you consume. And, you can use this knowledge to understand the changes needed in your diet for healthy weight loss.

Final notes

These 7 steps will help you to battle obesity by practicing healthy and conscious eating habits. However, mindful eating is not a technique you can master overnight. It requires constant practice and patience on your part. Remember that only you will be able to reach your goal.

That being said, it’s okay to not get everything right the first time. Make the effort to keep going and you will start getting closer to your goal day by day. After some time, mindful eating will come to you naturally and you will notice distinct improvements in your physical and mental health.

You can do this!

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