What is mindful eating?
Friday nights explained by experts
It’s the end of a long, hard week at work. The weekend rolls around and we feel like we deserve it- that feeling of comfort can be found at the bottom of that bag of chips or ice-cream tub. We’ve all been there. But how do you tell the difference between a guilty pleasure and a bad habit? Mindful eating.
"The reason we all want to go for that bag of chips or an entire bar of chocolate is because it activates the reward centre in our brain”, says Smriti Joshi, an expert psychologist and lead coach at Wysa. Simply put, mindful eating is being aware of what you eat and being in the present moment while you do so.
Most of us rush through our meals so that we can get on with our day. And, never mind Friday nights. Eating that pot of noodles in front of your favourite TV show has become a standard weeknight activity for most of us. A woman wrote into Smriti asking for advice, saying "I'm always distracted- either watching something on TV or talking to someone, that before I know it, I've eaten more than I intended to.” The answer to this is- you guessed it- being more mindful about what you eat.
Mindful eating doesn’t mean you need to pull on your yoga pants and sit in the lotus position while you eat. Smriti says that “...being in the present not only helps us eat healthy and helps with controlling portion size but also helps us enjoy our meal more leading to build the same reward associations in the brain with healthy food that we often have with unhealthy food.”
So there you go. If you (like me!) have been yo-yo dieting, wondering why the calories aren’t rolling off, then mindful eating may be your answer. It not only helps you become more aware of how much you put into your mouth but also helps you eat slower. How does this help? You start to savour each mouthful and chewing slowly aids digestion as well.
Dr Jan Chozen, M.D. in an article in Psychology Today says, “The problem is not in the food, the fat cells or the stomach and intestines. The problem lies in the mind. It lies in our lack of awareness of the messages coming in from our body, from our very cells and from our heart.”
So listen to the heart. It’s not telling you to eat the entire bar of chocolate. It’s telling you it needs to be rewarded with a hot, steaming nutritious meal. Which deserves a whole lot more of our attention!
Here are 4 simple ways you could do that:
- Don’t skip meals and wait to eat until you’re starving. Try to stick to mealtimes.
- Practising gratitude before your meal is an age-old tradition. You don’t necessarily have to resort to religion to appreciate the food before you. Spare a moment to think about the effort that was put into preparing the meal.
- Fill your plate with small portion sizes of various food groups. Today will ensure you’re getting a balanced amount of nutrition in.
- Take small bites and chew slowly. This will help you pay attention to smell, flavour,
texture and enjoy your meal, far more.
Follow these four simple steps and your wellness goals will be within arm’s reach, in just a week or two.
Smoother digestion, glowing skin, weight loss, energy levels, better moods. All of that and more can be achieved with just a little bit of love.