What Can Mindful Eating Do To Improve Your Health?

By Stepy Kamei

You may have heard about the practice of "mindfulness" in terms of meditation and relaxation techniques, but did you realize that it can be applied to many aspects of your lifestyle? In particular, it can be helpful for your eating habits. You can use the tools found in mindfulness practices to help you along your journey to a healthier eating plan. When you start to eat mindfully on a regular basis, you'll probably begin to notice a positive change in your overall physical and mental well-being. 

Identify the Real Source of Your Hunger

Overeating is a very common problem in today's society. We have instant access to food at virtually any given time, which makes it easier than ever to start noshing on some chips whenever we feel like it. The problem is, overeating is often the result of needing to fill emotional needs, as opposed to actually feeling hungry. Many of us turn to snacks and food in order to alleviate boredom, ease stress, and celebrate in times of happiness and joy. Over time, this can lead to an unhealthy eating pattern based on emotional needs which should be addressed in other, healthier manners. The next time you feel hungry for a snack, take a moment to see if you really are hungry, or if you're just feeling stressed. 

Eat in a Distraction-Free Zone

When you do eat, make sure you can't zone out and end up eating way more than you intended to. Eating while watching Netflix, working on the computer, or talking to friends can distract us from the needs of our bodies. When this happens, we're much more likely to eat way more than we actually need to. Try setting up designated areas for you to eat in. For example, you can choose to only eat in the kitchen and at the dining room table in your house, and nowhere else. 

Be Aware of the Sensations of Eating

As you eat, take the time to notice, in an objective manner, the sensations of eating. How does the food taste? What does it smell like? Take time to notice the texture as well. As silly as this may sound initially, you'll find that slowing down to experience the full process of eating can help you to not only appreciate the food you're eating, but also to prevent overeating.

Be sure to always check in with your primary healthcare provider to make sure you're giving your body the nutrition and other health aspects it needs to be in its best shape.