With our hectic schedules, we seldom find the time to pause and enjoy the moment. While being busy is a sign of productivity, it can also take a toll on your body, especially during stressful situations. For this reason, a lot of experts recommend practicing mindfulness in our day-to-day activities, like when consuming foods and drinks. In fact, paying attention to your eating habits offers several perks. So, what are the various benefits of mindful eating?
WHAT IS MINDFUL EATING?
Mindful eating is not a diet plan but simply an approach to understanding deeply the effects of food on your body. Like meditation, this practice focuses on living in the moment. But, instead of paying attention to your body and surroundings, mindful eating teaches you to concentrate on your food’s appearance, smell, texture, and flavor. Additionally, you’ll also focus on the thoughts and sensations you have before, during, and after eating. Furthermore, this practice will also encourage you to examine your eating habits. For example, you’ll take note of the events that trigger your food cravings or stress eating. The best part is that mindful eating is so simple yet valuable, especially to your overall well-being.
THE BENEFITS OF MINDFUL EATING
1. PREVENTS BINGE EATING
Mindful eating is not only applicable to your meals but every time you take a bite. Oftentimes, we grab our favorite comfort foods when we’re stressed, bored, or depressed. Unfortunately, most of our go-to products are rich in sugar and fats. These products may give you a temporary boost but may also trigger binge eating. The good news is that paying attention to the impact of food on your body can help you fully understand your eating habits – good or bad. Plus, mindfulness is also an effective technique to ease your negative thoughts and emotions. Eventually, you’ll learn to opt for healthier choices and prevent binge or stress eating.
2. ALLOWS YOU TO PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BODY
One of the most valuable benefits of mindful eating is it allows you to understand your body. Keep in mind that this practice is not only about observing your food, but also about paying attention to your thoughts, emotions, and sensations while you’re eating. Through this practice, you’ll get to know the different cues your body is sending you – like thirst, hunger, and satiety. Aside from that, mindful eating will also teach you to appreciate the flavor and texture of your food for a more satisfying feeling.
3. HELPS IN WEIGHT MANAGEMENT
Experts recommend eating slowly not only for better digestion but to avoid overeating as well. Remember, it takes about 20 minutes for our brains to alert us that we’re already satiated. When you’re eating fast, you may not notice that your stomach is already full. Thus, you consume more calories and sabotage your weight loss goals. The best remedy for this is to chew and enjoy your food. Plus, feeling satisfied after a meal can also help prevent food cravings. If you can stop your worst food cravings, you will have a lot easier of a time maintaining your weight, and will put less stress on yourself for making choices about your meals and how to treat yourself.
4. ABSORBS MORE NUTRIENTS
Aside from those benefits of mindful eating, this practice can also help you absorb more nutrients. The problem with today’s fast-paced lifestyle is that we forget to eat slowly and chew our food properly, which can lessen the nutrients you absorb. One reason is that your body can only take in simple substances. Thus, your food must be broken down before absorption occurs. As you know, the digestion process starts the moment you put food in your mouth. Chewing will help break down your food and activate enzymes needed for digestion, absorbing more nutrients and preventing digestive problems.
5. A WAY TO ENJOY YOURSELF
Less nutrient absorption is not the only negative effect of the fast-paced lifestyle a lot of people have today. Because of our hectic schedule, most of us forget the value of eating. First, we eat to nourish our bodies. As such, we have to pick nutrient-dense products like fruits and veggies as often as possible. But, that’s not all. Eating, especially with your loved ones, is a great way to relax, have fun, and pause your busy schedule. You’ll definitely get gratification in taking the time to chew and savor the rich flavors of your food – a pleasurable moment we seldom do nowadays.
Overall, this practice teaches us that food is not just a means to survive. Eating, especially if you pay attention, can provide you a different perspective on the impact of your food to your body, mind, and well-being. The more we’re in tune with our body, the more we can fully appreciate it for all it does for us, and spend less time thinking about what we hope to change.
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