The key to lasting health for your mind and body is simpler than you may think. Unfortunately, if you want to cultivate a feel-good lifestyle that will have long-lasting results on your mood and health, there are no quick fixes. Is mindful eating the solution to finding peace in both your mental and physical state? Let's take a look.
Diet Culture And Body Positivity
Our 21st-century diet culture fuels a multi-million dollar industry that thrives off making people feel like their bodies are not good enough. Particularly for women, this represents a variety of deeply-rooted insecurities that are often subconscious and can take a long time to dismantle.
Learning to love your body is an important journey and each one of us starts it at different points in our lives. No matter how you go about it or when you begin, this is one of the most beautiful processes you can undertake to guarantee improved wellbeing in your mind and body.
Fad diets and self-imposed alimentary restrictions can cause serious harm to our bodies, as well as calling for lifestyle changes that are often incredibly difficult to sustain. When we fail at yet another diet, it has terrible consequences for our sense of self-worth and confidence. What's more, these diets are not built to last. Since the industry is designed to keep you coming back for more, it is unlikely to posit any kind of nutritional plan that works long-term.
What Is Mindful Eating?
Mindful eating is the process in which you actively engage with the process of eating. It means being totally mindful when it comes to what, how, and when you eat. Mindful eating is built on the principle that, as individuals, we respond to food in different ways. Since everybody is unique, the best thing we can do for our physical wellbeing is to listen to our body and try to understand it in order to feed it in the best way we can.
Mindful eating is about feeling good. It's not about trying to lose weight quickly but rather practicing eating in a way that makes us feel good.
Eating To feel good
So what exactly does it mean to eat in a way that makes us feel good? That's for each one of us to decide individually. It might make you feel good to eat vegan or to fast intermittently. Maybe you are the kind of person who enjoys all types of food, or maybe you are pickier. The important thing is to start noticing how your body responds to what you put inside it.
Most bodies respond well to clean eating: lots of fruit and vegetables, lean proteins, and low sugar and processed foods. However, many of us feel pretty good when we eat ice cream or french fries, too. It's about moderation. Probably you wouldn't feel great if you ate ice cream and french fries every day but equally, a life of clean eating may take some of the pleasure of food away from some people's lives.
Everything you put into your mouth is the result of a choice. Mindful eating encourages us to look at food as a series of choices. Giving your body nutrients and vitamins from fresh vegetables or giving your brain some joy with a bowl of candy; neither is better than the other so long as you are present in the fact of choosing. The more aware we are of our food choices, the more likely we are to choose the foods that make our bodies feel good long term.
How To Eat Mindfully
Mindful eating is not a diet; it's a lifestyle. It involves being as present as possible when we eat in order to feel how our body responds to food. The goal is to teach yourself to eat less of the things that harm and more of the things that heal.
Being totally present at the moment involves leveraging all five senses. When you sit down to eat, it's important to remove all distractions. This means no watching TV or scrolling during mealtimes. A little light conversation or some calming music is fine, so long as you're able to focus on eating.
Sight is the first step to engaging with your food. If you're at home, try arranging your meal on a beautiful plate, notice how the colors and textures compare and contrast and make sure to sit down at a table rather than on the couch.
Eating slowly is key. Place your fork down on the plate between mouthfuls and listen to your body. This way, you will be able to tell when you're full, meaning you're less likely to overeat.
Before taking a bite, smell your food. See if you can pick out different aromas from the herbs and spices.
When you put a forkful in your mouth, don't just gulp it down. Experience the different tastes and textures of what you're eating. Ask yourself, how does it feel? Is it crunchy, chewy, sweet, creamy, or spicy? How does this bite differ from the one before it?
You don't have to finish your plate, too. Leftovers are great! If you do clear it, try to wait 20 minutes before going for seconds or dessert. This is how much time your body needs to digest and send signals to your brain indicating whether it is sated or not.
Of course, many elements of mindful eating are easier said than done. It is not always possible to make conscious food choices, to eat in silence, and to take one's time. Yet, the beauty of mindful eating is that it champions patience. Just as we must be slow and steady as we eat, so must we be with our progress. Cultivating a lifestyle of mindful eating is one that will last your whole life. You may not see changes straight away, but we guarantee that if you follow the guiding principles, you will notice positive changes in your mind and body.