Our life is full of challenges. So good food becomes the topmost priority that you must have. However, daily life's stress and busy schedules hardly give us a chance to eat healthily or even take meals on time.
Such habits ultimately lead to mindless eating, where you eat to keep your stomach full. You might not even remember what you just ate even after feeling full. Mindless eating habits can deteriorate health and lead to bad eating habits.
It gives rise to the need for a mindful eating guide, including a mindful eating plan. Do not fret if these words are unfamiliar to you and you do not even know what is mindful eating or how to eat mindfully. 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. In simple words, mindful eating refers to staying mindful regarding what you eat or drink. You must be aware of the term mindfulness and might even have practiced it through meditation and other ways.
However, maintaining mindfulness while eating or drinking is what leads you towards the steps to mindful eating. To understand mindful eating, you must first understand what mindfulness is. Mindfulness refers to the act of staying in the present moment and being able to recognize your thoughts, emotions, and other physical sensations.
Hence, mindful eating involves feelings and observations related to your food and how it raises a sense of satisfaction, taste, and fullness in your body. A mindful eating guide suggests noticing the thoughts and body sensations that arise during eating or drinking without judging them.
A mindful eating guide covers all the steps to mindful eating and a mindful diet plan. 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 jot down the contents of your plate before a TV, 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?
In this way, you make eating an automatic act rather than an intentional one. What would happen if you kept eating mindlessly? After all, it feeds your stomach anyhow and saves much of your time that you would waste thinking about what your food is or how it tastes.
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 would have also noticed that you frequently eat even if you have had a full meal. It could be due to emotional hunger and not physical hunger. It means your emotional imbalance might drive you toward eating more and more when you are not even 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, depression, anxiety, etc. 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 on 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 in 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 towards 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 in an alternate way.
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 miss the heavenly experience and sensation of each bite while eating mindlessly and not savor it with mindful eating? Mindful eating is not something you must force on yourself. It is not about keeping a tight check on your calories, eating only perfect food items, and including fewer food items in your diet.
Mindless 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. Here are some of the benefits you get by following 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 Author : Poorvi is a psychology graduate with a knack for writing and belief in ayurveda.