“Mindfulness is the quality of being present and fully engaged with whatever we’re doing at the moment — free from distraction or judgment” – Headspace.
The practice of mindfulness has rocketed in recent years by people using it to help them be in the present, enjoy the now and let go of everyday worries that distract and make them less productive. I mean, who doesn’t want to be more focused, organised and get the most out of every moment of every day? Can we apply this idea to eating to help us be more healthy and reduce the risk of chronic disease by being overweight? Well the science tells us that we can.
So how does it work? Mindful eating has been shown to possibly help people control their body weight through decreases in cravings and a reduction in emotional eating. What is emotional eating? This is when we decide to eat not because we need to for a physiological reason like fuel or energy, but because we use food as a distraction to cope with life stresses.
How can we do it? It may sound difficult but basically it just means doing the stuff you’re doing while you’re doing it. Easy. If you are biting something, feel the bite. If you can see your food look at the shape and colours on the plate. If your using cutlery feel the knife and fork or spoon between your fingers. By doing this regularly you will enjoy your food more, become less distracted and be more in tune with your body so you can have a healthy relationship with food and your feelings towards it.
Steps to follow
- Listen to your body. Are you actually hungry or just eating for comfort. Sometimes our environment can trigger eating, like who you are with, where you are or what time of day is it. By actually checking in to see if you are hungry this will help to control snacking.
- Portion size. Decide your portion size and put the rest away. This allows you to focus all your attention on the eating experience. Do you want something hot or cold, savoury or sweet, smooth or crunchy?
- Be present when eating. Take your time, chew properly. Avoid, distractions like TV and phones so that you can be present with every bite or drink. Be aware of the colours, shapes, smells, textures and flavour of food. Finish your mouthful before taking another bite.