Mindful eating is a method of eating that helps you gain control over your eating habits. It is used to treat many conditions such as eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and other food-related behaviors. It involves eating without distraction and slowly, listening to physical hunger signals and eating only until you’re full, distinguishing between true hunger and non-hunger triggers for eating, learning to cope with anxiety and guilt about food, and eating to maintain the general wellbeing.
Benefits of Mindful Eating
- Weight loss
Mindful eating aids in weight loss by changing eating behaviors. People who eat mindfully without distractions tend to know what to eat and when to stop eating and not overeat. Studies have shown that mindful eating aids weight loss by changing people’s eating behavior by changing the way they think about food. The negative feelings associated with eating are replaced with awareness. When mindless eating behaviors are addressed, their chances of long-term weight loss success are increased.
- Treats Unhealthy Eating
Mindful eating methods have been shown to reduce unhealthy eating such as external and emotional eating behaviors.
Mindful eating gives all the skills one needs to treat unhealthy eating by putting you in charge of your responses instead of your instinct.
- It Prevents Binge Eating
Binge eating is the act of eating a large portion of food in a short time mindlessly without control and it has been linked to weight gain and eating disorders. Studies shows that about 75% of people who binge eat are obese. Mindful eating drastically reduces the frequency of binge eating.
- Help Distinguish Between Emotional And Physical Hunger
Eating mindfully restores your attention and slows you down making eating an intentional act instead of an automatic act, by increasing your recognition of physical hunger, you are able to distinguish between emotional and physical hunger.
Emotional eating is eating for any reason other than hunger. If you eat when you’re stressed, bored, sad, angry, or you reward yourself with food, you’re struggling from emotional eating.
Mindful eating increases your awareness of triggers that make you want to eat, even when you are not really hungry. Knowing these triggers helps create a space between them and your response, giving you the time and freedom to choose how to react.
- Mindful Eating Improves Eating Habits
Adopting mindful eating helps improve taste perceptions and broaden one’s palate. This will help you add more varied and nutritious food to your meals. Mindful eating helps in breaking overeating habits. Research has revealed that mindful eating practices have significantly decreased unhealthy snacking habits while increasing the intake of healthy foods.
Tips on How To Start Mindful Eating
- Ask yourself why you’re eating, whether you’re truly hungry and if the food you’re about to eat is healthy.
- Eat slowly and do not rush your meals.
- Eliminate distractions by putting down your phone and turning off the television.
- Avoid talking while eating.
- Chew thoroughly.
- Focus on how the food makes you feel.
- Stop eating when you’re full.
- If any factor triggers eating without hunger, try to distract yourself by taking a walk, calling a loved one, watching a movie or reading a novel.
Adebusola Adefeso is a Medical Doctor, Certified Personal Nutritionist and a Weight loss Expert.
She’s the Founder of Fit4healthng, a weight management, health and wellness company.
She became passionate about weight loss, health, and wellness after seeing a lot of patients suffer from diseases that could have been well managed if they were at a healthy weight; she personally addressed her own belly fat struggles.
She does not only offer her professional expertise but also incorporates her first-hand knowledge of weight loss and healthy living in providing simple and actionable strategies for her clients.
She has used her successful lifestyle change to touch the lives of thousands globally.
She’s a strong believer in empowering people for a healthy lifestyle and she has shared her expertise on platforms like docotal, thriveglobal, newmumshub, smooth FM etc.