Challenges abound in our daily lives. So, having a good diet becomes your main priority. However, the stress of daily life and our hectic schedules make it difficult for us to consume a balanced diet or even to eat on time.
Such behaviors ultimately result in mindless eating, when you eat only to maintain satiety. Even if you feel full after eating, you could not even recall what you just consumed. Unconscious eating patterns might harm your health and promote unhealthy eating patterns.
It makes a mindful eating guide, which includes a mindful eating plan, necessary. Do not worry if you are not familiar with these terms or if you are unsure of what mindful eating is or how to practice it.
Here we shall be covering every aspect of mindful eating, including a mindful eating guide, a mindful diet plan, and the steps to mindful eating.
What is mindful eating?
The first question that might arise curiosity in you would be what is mindful eating. Simply said, mindful eating means paying attention to the food and beverages you consume. You must be familiar with the concept of mindfulness and may even have used it in your meditation or other practices.
The path to mindful eating, however, begins with keeping your awareness as you eat or drink. You must first grasp mindfulness to understand mindful eating. The practice of mindfulness involves being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and other physical experiences while remaining in the present.
Therefore, mindful eating involves sentiments and insights about your meal and how it affects your senses of taste, satisfaction, and fullness. A mindful eating guide advises paying attention to the ideas and physical sensations that surface when eating or drinking without judgment.
Hence, mindful eating is all about practicing mindfulness to stay attentive to your cravings, physical sensations, and experiences while eating or drinking.
The need to practice mindful eating
You are looking for a mindful eating guide because you know something about the need to practice mindful eating and maintain a mindful diet plan. However, even if you don't, we have got you covered.
Mindful eating is necessary to avoid the mindless eating you usually do in your daily life. You must have experienced mindless eating when you mindlessly hog down the contents of your plate before a TV, or computer screen, or on your way to the office in your car. What could be a better reason for mindless eating than distractions that come with modern life in the form of screens and sounds?
By doing this, you turn eating into a habit rather than a conscious action. What would occur if you continued to eat mindlessly? After all, it fills your stomach and saves you a lot of time that you might otherwise waste wondering what you are eating or how it tastes. Isn't it?
You might not realize it, but mindless eating comes with many disadvantages. It starts with how your brain signals that your stomach is full.
Our brain takes around 20 minutes to receive and process the signal of our stomach being full. Mindless eating keeps on feeding you at a quick pace without your brain realizing you are already full. When the sensation of fullness comes, you intake much more than the required amount of food. It could be one of the reasons for obesity and binge eating.
You may have also observed that even after eating a substantial meal, you still frequently consume food. It could be due to emotional hunger and not physical hunger. It implies that your emotional instability may cause you to eat continuously even when you are not hungry.
Hence, it becomes necessary to follow a mindful eating guide. Follow the steps to mindful eating, and maintain a mindful diet plan to avoid bad eating habits. Mindful eating helps you treat many eating disorders like depression, anxiety, etc as well. Because mindful eating is a kind of meditation, meditation can help you cope with your emotions and physical sensations.
What does a mindful eating diet include?
In a mindful eating guide and the steps to mindful eating, a mindful diet plan mainly contains a Mediterranean diet. It answers your question about what is soul food. A Mediterranean diet mainly consists of fruits, vegetables, vegetable oils, whole grains, seeds, nuts, etc.
However, a mindful eating guide also suggests that mindful eating does not necessarily rely on what are the contents of your food or a tight diet plan full of fruits and vegetables. Mindful eating can also be practiced with pizza, burgers, and junk foods.
It is all about staying aware of what you eat or drink, no matter the type of food. You must be able to realize how a particular food or drink triggers your cravings and physical sensations and helps you recognize if you are physically hungry or just emotionally hungry. Hence, by following a mindful eating guide and a mindful diet plan, you can respond well to your emotional hunger.
Also Read: What Is Healthy Eating And How Can You Do It?
What are the differences between mindless and mindful eating?
Before you switch from mindless eating to mindful eating, you must know the differences between the two. This mindful eating guide shall tell you everything about the differences between mindless and mindful eating, how to maintain a mindful diet plan, and the steps to mindful eating.
It involves multitasking while eating your food and responding to distractions, such as TV, computer, mobile, driving, etc.
It involves focusing all your attention on food and staying aware of what you are eating or drinking.
You might get inclined to junk food and just seek comfort in food.
It mainly focuses on eating healthy and nutritionally apt meals and snacks.
Here you eat food at a fast pace without even realizing what you are eating.
Here you eat slowly and intentionally being aware of every bit you take.
It mainly satisfies emotional hunger arising from stress, anxiety, loneliness, boredom, or sadness.
It satisfies the true and physical hunger and recognizes emotional hunger to deal with it alternately.
Here you ignore the body signals and the sensations of fullness and continue eating till the contents of your plate are empty.
Here you eat while being aware of your body signals and only until you are full.
Hence, these are the differences between mindless eating and mindful eating, according to the mindful eating guide. So you can now maintain a mindful diet plan and follow the steps to mindful eating to practice mindfulness while eating.
How does mindful eating help?
Mindful eating has many advantages over mindless eating. You can find it in almost all mindful eating guides. Eating is a heavenly experience that satisfies your hunger. If you can eat and drink as you like, you are among the lucky ones.
So why not relish each piece with mindful eating rather than eating mindlessly and missing out on the divine experience and sensation of each bite? You don't need to force yourself to eat mindfully. It is not necessary to restrict your calorie intake. Consume only healthy foods, or consume a smaller variety of foods in your diet.
Mindful eating is paying close attention to everything you eat and recognizing how it affects your senses and the sensation of hunger. If you are well aware of how the food you eat makes you feel or how well it satisfies your hunger even if you are not full, it can help you make healthy eating decisions, and you start following a mindful diet plan.
There are many health benefits associated with mindful eating, as you might find in a mindful eating guide. Following are some of the benefits you get by pursuing a mindful diet plan and the steps to mindful eating.
- It can release stress and anxiety as you direct your attention towards your food and forget all tantrums of daily life.
- It helps you recognize emotional hunger and prevents you from eating for reasons other than physical hunger.
- It can unite you with the real pleasure associated with eating as you know each bite you intake, its taste, and how well it satisfies your hunger.
- It promotes better digestion as you eat slowly, thus keeping your bowel movement appropriate.
- It helps you make healthier eating choices as you recognize how your food makes you feel and affects your health.
- It makes you aware of everything related to your food and how it makes its journey from farm to fork.
- It makes you learn how to appreciate your food by paying closer attention to it.
- It makes you feel full even after eating less than mindless eating.
Hence, you can enjoy the above benefits of mindful eating by following a mindful eating guide, maintaining a mindful diet plan, and focusing on the steps to mindful eating.
What are the steps to mindful eating?
Now that you have gone through the mindful eating guide, you might wonder how to eat mindfully and the steps to mindful eating. Here we have covered all the steps to mindful eating, including all your answers on how to eat mindfully or what is soul food.
- Breathing is the way: Everything starts with a deep breath, and so does mindful eating. Mindful eating guides emphasize starting with a few deep breaths before you make your way to the food on your plate and recognizing the health value of everything on it.
- Make the best of your senses: If you follow the steps to mindful eating thoroughly, it will remind you to make the best use of your senses while eating and know what food item you are shopping, cooking, chopping, serving, and eating. A mindful eating guide would tell you to recognize the way your food looks, smells, and unfurls as you process it.
- Observe that around you: You must observe your food and the surroundings without being distracted. All you need while following the steps to mindful eating is to stay curious about the food you will intake. It would help if you observed your sitting posture as well.
- Recognize your hunger: You must recognize if you are physically hungry or just eating to drive away your emotions. Hence, coming to the table with a physical hunger is one of the steps to mindful eating, as you would find in every mindful eating guide.
- Appreciate your food: You must learn to recognize and appreciate everything before you on your table or the plate. It would help if you appreciated how your food looks, smells, tastes, and affects your senses.
- Notice every bite: Noticing each bite of the food you intake is one of the most important steps to mindful eating. It tells you everything about the texture and taste of your food without engulfing it mindlessly.
- Know your experience: You must recognize what you experience regarding your food and how the experience shifts momentarily.
- The utensil thing: Putting your utensil down between your bites makes you feel your food and helps you eat slowly. Hence, you must not jot down the contents of your plate all at once.
- Farm to fork: You must take a moment to understand how your food makes its way from the farm to your plate via numerous steps to make healthy and sustainable eating choices.
- Eat slowly: The key to mindful eating is to eat slowly. Hence, it would help if you continued to eat slowly after following the steps to mindful eating.
Mindful eating is the need of the hour, considering how we mindlessly treat food and fall prey to unhealthy eating habits. So you can follow this mindful eating guide and make your way to mindfulness via food.
Authored By: Poorvi Chhajer
About the Author: Poorvi is a psychology graduate with a knack for writing and a belief in ayurveda.