There are some individuals who struggle with achieving a normal body weight as they have a ‘not so healthy’ relationship with food. Substituting food to relieve anxiety, depression, loneliness, fear, and disappointment can result in a bulging waistline. It is not unusual that affected persons may not make the association between this and their overweight.
Psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals are applying mindfulness as a therapeutic tool to assist persons with various psychological issues.
Mindfulness can be best described as being in the present moment focusing attention on one’s thoughts, feeling, emotions, or actions as they are being experienced without judging it. This is an ancient Buddhist practice which we have adopted in the west to improve mental and physical health.
Practitioners are using the practice of mindfulness to address:
- Healthy Eating
- Weight Loss
- Reduction of anxiety levels
- Stress relief
- Breaking addictions
- Deepening Spiritual Awareness
Mindful eating helps to keep us focused on:
- When to eat
- Do you eat when you are hungry?
- Do you eat because it is about the time that you should eat?
- When to stop eating
- Do you stop eating when the plate is empty?
- Do you stop eating when you are satisfied?
- What to eat
- Do you eat what is available/ provided?
- Do you eat what you know is healthy for you?
- Why we eat
- Do you eat when you are emotionally upset?
- Do you use a coping mechanism when emotionally upset instead of reaching for food?
Here’s how to eat mindfully
Be aware of your eating habits and choices. Begin to consciously infuse the suggestions that will make you healthier and also achieve your right weight.
Imagine chewing each mouthful of food while focusing on the taste, texture and flavors. It is described as a delightful experience. Food will never be the same after cultivating this practice.
When to eat:
Eat 3-5 small to moderate meals a day every 3-4 hour. Fruits, fruit or vegetable salads can be enjoyed in between the main meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner).
What to eat:
Healthy foods and drinks include low sugar, low fat and low salt selections. Fresh, raw, crunchy and flavorful vegetables such as celery, cucumbers, radish, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, carrots and lettuce are not only nutritious but also have antioxidants properties to heal the body.
How much to eat:
Supersized plates, glasses, and cups are not helpful when one is being mindful of portion sizes. Make that conscious effort to eat until you are satisfied as oppose to eating until you are “stuffed”.
- Why we eat:
If you are feeling bored, stressed, depressed or anxious, do not head straight for the kitchen to devour “comfort” foods. Do an activity such as walking, jogging or yoga that will enhance your mood.
Tips to enhance the experience of Mindful Eating
- Do not multi-tasks during meal time. Avoid watching television or using electronic devices while eating.
- Do not have lunch at your work station.
- Make a switch to smaller plates, glasses, and cups.
- Have a glass of water half an hour before meals. Avoid drinking during the meal.
- Several times during the meal put the fork down.
- Chew each mouthful of food thoroughly.
- Engage the senses of taste, touch, smell, and feeling
- Chose a variety of colors and textures to enhance the experience
- After a meal, mindfully select a treat which could be wine, tea, coffee, a good combination of fruits or a small portion of pastry.
Hello Docja, Readers Bureau, Contributor
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