Lack of food awareness is a problem that many of us face. We often gulp down food, and not knowing when to stop, fail to savor the taste and vitality it can bring us. Not being receptive to the signals sent by our bodies leads to obesity, gastrointestinal issues, and other long-term health problems. Before we start, isn’t it essential to ask why you should indulge in mindful eating exercise? After all, isn’t this just one of the latest fads in the public eye?
What are mindful eating exercises & How do mindful eating?
The meaning of mindful eating is eating while paying attention to the taste, texture, juiciness, and other factors of the food we’re eating. Eating mindfully helps us savor the taste of food and feel complete. It also makes us more aware of how much food we should eat.
Mindfulness, deep breathing, self-validation, and meditation techniques are similar as they involve being present at the moment, having an unbiased attitude, and grounding yourself in an idea, emotions, sensory stimuli, or your breath. Mindful eating exercise is practiced as a form of mindfulness and meditation by many and can also help you make your meals a relaxing experience.
Consciously eating is an addition to a series of beneficial mindfulness practices that can improve your mental health in the long term. Here are some quotes to help you understand and develop the power of mindfulness.
You can use mindful eating exercises to make dinner a time to socialize for the whole family; as impossible as it may sound, people in this day and age can also sit at a table together and have decent or exciting conversations. One way to achieve this is to bring it up with your family, friends, or whoever else you share your meals with. Tell them about mindful eating exercises and try them out as a group.
This will add more flavor to your conversations, making you grateful for your friends and good food. Here are some gratefulness journaling prompts to appreciate different aspects of your life more.
Other mindfulness-related exercises include self-care activities, centering yourself in your body through meditation, active listening skills, attention to breathing, and so on. Below are some mindful eating techniques to help you harness the full power of mindful eating and apply it to your life.
Mindful eating Techniques
1. Mindful Eating Meditation
In the new era of binge eating and binge-watching, we have grown increasingly unconscious and tend to follow an automatic routine; we often don’t realize what we’re eating, how we’re eating it, and how we feel after eating it. This has left our physical and mental health in shambles. Mindfulness is an approach that helps us combat this tendency by being “present” in our lives.
You can practice mindful eating meditation by chewing more, perhaps closing your eyes and savoring the taste of the food in your mouth to make the process meditative. Chewing your food more, a habit people rarely follow, is also recommended for better digestion and metabolism. Healthy and conscious eating can aid the development of a robust immune system and weight loss, although that’s not the primary purpose.
One of the ways to practice mindful eating exercise is raisin eating exercise. This exercise was popularized by Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, penned by Jon Kabat-Zinn, and based on Buddhist teachings.
Look, touch, smell, taste, and hear the raisin; employ all senses as you focus on it. You can do this exercise with any food and drink. Look at the raisin’s colors and details if you want to. You can touch it to know its texture from the outside. You become aware of its surface and juicy insides as you taste it. Then you can smell it and finally hear the sounds it makes while you’re eating it. This may sound like a simple exercise, but if done correctly, it will remind you how much you’re not mindful or aware of and how that affects your life.
2. Grateful Eating
“By His hand, we are all fed. Give us Lord, our daily bread. Amen.” This phrase from Christianity clearly demonstrates the point we are trying to make. Gratefulness for our food makes us value our meals more, enjoy them thoroughly, and might even make supper time a bonding experience with our loved ones.
Be grateful that you have something to eat. Focus on the taste and texture – it may be juicy, spicy, or have other attributes. Letting a meal pass by unconsciously and leaving your food underappreciated is a pity. To make the best of this exercise, eliminate all distractions, switch off all devices for a short duration, and you can even think of it as a mini social media detox. You can also change your attitude toward food, seeing it as a source of life rather than something to chomp down on.
3. Zen Tea Drinking
Imagine the scene; at the start of early morning, you’re sitting on your veranda, slowly sipping on hot tea. The morning dew and cold winds perfectly contrast with chamomile tea. This can help calm you down and is a more peaceful way to consume tea. Tea sipping and brewing tea is a widespread practice in Zen Buddhism.
It also promotes the attitude of doing everything mindfully while paying full attention. Hence, this practice is a must in our modern world full of distractions. Tea drinking distracts us from our worries and concerns, as we only focus on our sensations. The warmth of the cup, the scent of tea, the refreshing aroma from the environment. Owing to its relaxing properties, it can be good relief from mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression.
Tips for making the best of mindful eating benefits
1. Make food yourself: Making food yourself can be an addition to the mindfulness practice and become a ritual that feels sacred to you. As you taste the food and indulge in the aroma to test its flavors, you are grounded at the moment. Being present encourages mindfulness practice and activates your senses.
Making food yourself can also be a way to show gratefulness and appreciation for friends and loved ones in your life. The way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, and the people you cherish will surely appreciate the sentiment.
2. Keep your tummy full: It might not be a good idea to come to the dinner table wholly starved. You’ll likely eat the first thing you find without considering whether it is healthy or not. You would also ignore its taste and use it to fill your stomach.
3. What to eat: WHO recommends you include fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains, along with fats and iodized salt, as per your body’s requirements. Here are some foods you should try for anxiety and natural remedies for depression. These dietary additions help support your mental health through dietary supplements. As the famous saying goes, “Good Food, Good Mood.”
4. Some foods to avoid: You can reduce the fat intake to about 30% of your total intake. Pay special attention to avoiding industrially produced trans fat and other synthetic foodstuffs. You can also reduce your overall sugar and salt intake. Here are some foods that are bad for mental health.
5. Track your Food Habits: Keep a food journal and set specific times in the day when you eat food. You can also count your calories and the nutrients your food items provide. This can help establish better food habits. Through the journal, you can also record how the food makes you feel and whether you would like to have it again. Here are some journaling techniques to help you get started.
6. Set health goals: You can set goals to start with your mindful eating regimen. These may include establishing a personalized diet, losing weight, or anything else that suits your fancy. Here is a list of the best short-term mental health goals you can set with a blossoming mindfulness practice.
Mindful eating is the exercise of consuming food mindfully while paying full attention to the sensory aspects of the present moment. This mindfulness and self-care technique can help you be more contented, satisfied, and generally happy. If you want to read about 17 habits that are vital to happiness, click here.
Subscribe to Your Mental Health Pal for more advice on being healthy, happy, and mindful in your everyday existence.