Mindful eating is being aware of your physiological signs and activate all of our senses to nourish our body.
Mindful eating is a popular term now a days. It is possible that we do not see the relationship with losing weight or with preventing chronic diseases. The relationship is that mindful eating is a key tool for living a healthier lifestyle. It is not dieting or feeling hungry all the time, it is about being aware of your physiological signs and stimulating all of our senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch) to nourish our body. Having a direct relationship with what we eat and what we feel, helps us to avoid eating for external social situations such as, boredom, depression, stress, anxiety, etc.
Some tips to practice this technique are:
- Before eating, take your time to recognize if you are hungry or if you are just eating because other causes like boredom. Ask yourself: Am I hungry? Where do I feel my hunger? What do I feel when I am really hungry?
- Pay attention to what you stomach feels before, during and after eating.
- Pay attention to what you eat. See the colors, feel the textures of the different foods, and taste the different flavors.
- Eat regularly, do not let more than four hours pass without consuming something nutritious and in a moderate amount.
- Do not have distractions when you are eating. Enjoy the moment! Take your time! If you eat while you are doing other activities (watching TV, driving or in the computer) your brain will send an incorrect sign of your not having eaten yet.
- Choose food that really nourish your body instead of consuming empty calories.
- Try relaxing and breathing exercises like meditation or yoga.
- Make smart decisions when you choose your food. Eat fruits and vegetables instead of foods high in fat and calories.
- Practice portion control, do not eat all the food you have in front of you just because it is there. Learn when to stop when you are satisfied.
Following the above tips can help you eat healthier and find easy way towards a balanced diet. If you would like to learn more about heathy lifestyles, visit USDA’s My Plate page. Michigan State University Extension offers various educational programs for adults, families, and children that focus on lifestyle changes to promote healthy eating. For more health and nutrition tips, visit Michigan State University Extension.