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A New Year, New Food Resolution: Mindful Eating

by Praveen Kumar

Remember the good old days when our parents and grandparents asked us not to talk while eating? The only sound you could hear during the dining time is the clutter of the utensils, slurp of the food and glug of water. We have grown up complaining about the strict eating habits that were enforced on us. But have you ever wondered what the total be-quiet-while-eating was all about?

Well, mindful eating doesn’t just mean you have to shut up while eating. It’s got something more into it. By staying mum while eating, we inevitably end up concentrating on what’s on the plate, the number of bites we take, the quantity of food we eat, the way the food reacts with our taste buds and have a fulfilling meal. Concentrating and enjoying your meal is great for your health, body and senses.

Unfortunately there has been a drastic change in lifestyle, food and eating habits from how it was a decade ago. We lead a very fast life and there are a lot of distractions around us. With a breaking news or scandal every hour, increasing attention to social media and several other factors we even forget what we are eating. Being ignorant about what we eat has serious repercussions on your health, leading to obesity and several other health disorders.  We are heading for the worse, thus, it’s time we incorporated mindful eating to ensure a healthy living.

Mindful Eating

What is mindful eating all about?

Mindful eating isn’t rocket science; it’s something we have forgotten over the years – being completely aware and relishing every bite you take. It’s being completely present in the situation, aware of what you are eating and enjoying the food visually, chewing them well, taking in the taste and attributes of the food you eat and noticing the effects it has on your body.

Why mindful eating?

Helps you understand what your body wants

When we are distracted or in a hurry while eating, we are completely unaware about what our body is telling us. We just end up eating what we want, leaving our body frustrated. Therefore, your body never cooperates with you. So, when you give that extra love, attention and care to your body, by understanding what it wants and giving exactly that in return tastefully, your body will love you back. During mindful eating, you pay attention and concentration to every detail, thus, keeping your body and mind healthy and happy.

Let’s you know when to stop

Hunger pangs usually drive you crazy. It is a common tendency for people to gobble up mouthful of food and swallow them quickly in order to satiate your hunger quickly. That’s where all of us go wrong. When you eat quickly, you don’t give enough time for your brain to register what is happening, so your hunger doesn’t satiate. You end up over eating. Sometimes when we are stressed, we confuse it with hunger and end up binging on unhealthy munchies. When you mindfully eat your food, you are aware of your senses and know how much to eat and when to stop eating.

Keeps obesity at bay

Our unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits has made obesity a common phenomenon. Be it a meeting, celebration with friends or family or there is an emotional trauma we seek solace in food. We have a different reason every time to hit the food joints more often; and when we do we are blinded to the quantity of food we consume. Since you are aware about the needs of your body and know when to stop through mindful eating, you are not under the threat of obesity. Furthermore, when you chew your food completely and relish them slowly, your food doesn’t retain in your body forming unwanted fats. This helps you lose weight and prevents unhealthy weight gain.

Mood enhancer

Food has always helped us to uplift our moods, but we always do it the wrong way and ruin our health. Mindful eating diverts your undivided concentration towards food. When you relish each and every attribute of your favourite food, you fall in love with it even more that makes you forget any stress or anxiety that’s nagging you. It boosts your mood and makes you instantly happy.

How do you eat mindfully?

  • Firstly, switch off your TV and keep your phone aside
  • Take a piece of food with your non-dominant hand. By doing so, you put that extra bit of effort in concentrating on what you are doing
  • Close your eyes and take a small bite of your food
  • Chew your food slowly and thoroughly at least 25 times
  • Avoid eating from packets. Pour even a small quantity of snacks on to a plate while you are eating
  • Keep your fork or spoon in between each and every bite
  • Try to concentrate on the ingredients, its taste and attributes and how it makes you feel

This might be very hard to follow initially. So you can incorporate the steps one at a time. If it is very hard for you to eat in silence, you can play slow music or have a deep conversation and enjoy a heartfelt meal.

Let’s not forget that we hustle throughout the year to have a happy meal and lead a happy life. Stop eating for the sake of it. Start eating mindfully and enjoy your food tastefully.

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