You may think this is just another article begging you to eat a healthier diet, to cut down on your fat and carb intake in favor of more leafy greens and protein-rich beans. But that’s not what mindful eating is about at all.
The goal is to make the food you consume an experience you look forward to every time you are planning a meal. While fried chicken may tantalize the taste buds, there is no doubt it is an unhealthy choice. Your taste buds may be satisfied, but your body would not feel as good afterwards as it would after consuming a healthier meal.
To be mindful about what you eat means to satisfy every aspect of your being. You need to think consciously about satisfying every component, including your taste buds, your gut health, your body’s requirements considering your aesthetic goals, and of course your wallet.
But whatever you choose to have needs to be a wholesome experience by the end. It’s not only about what you eat, but how much of it and at what time. You need to listen to your body, to be mindful of its needs, in order to practice mindful eating.
The Required Changes
Usually people are prompted to change their eating habits because either they are experiencing health issues or because they want to change their appearance. Whatever the goal, diet plays a huge role in our physical health.
Mindful eating is not exclusively about losing weight, rather it is geared towards bring you to the right weight in a gradual process. This happens not by cutting down or increasing your calorie intake, rather by delivering a heightened experience with eating which allows you to consume smaller portions.
For example, this does not put restrictions on your consumption of desserts. However, you are expected to eat it by completely enjoying the experience, taking smaller bites and chewing for a longer period of time in order to fully enjoy the taste. This allows you to become satisfied as far as taste is concerned much quicker, leading you to consume a smaller portion.
You may think this may have negative consequences since there are no calorie restrictions. While that may be true as you may end up gaining some weight, in the long run it is healthier as you become more confident about the way you look. No longer would you feel inadequate with your current weight as you it would be a result of an eating lifestyle that leaves you completely satisfied.
Managing Life with Mindful Eating
The philosophy behind mindful eating is all about allowing you flexibility in life, which means that its perfectly acceptable for you to deviate from meal plans. When you practice mindful eating, you would want your meals to be a fulfilling experience, and naturally you would look forward to meal times.
However, considering busy schedules and other commitments, it may not be possible to pay that much attention to every meal, or sometimes have a meal at all. That is absolutely fine. Mindful eating is all about consuming food when you are absolutely comfortable. The trick is to trust your body to make this decision for you. When it won’t be able to stay hungry for a longer time, it will tell you, at which point you need to take a break and eat.
Another goal is to eliminate stress. Stress is a major factor in the occurrence of some of the most deadly diseases in the world, mostly pertaining to the heart. Stress can come from the environment and also because of our own actions. If we choose a rigid diet and lifestyle, then adhering to it is bound to become stressful for us as well.
If what you are eating is making you stressful, both in the short and long term, then you need to revise the food you intake. If the time and location you are having a meal in is not absolutely comfortable, then you need to have it some other time and at some other location. Happiness is the ultimate goal, and food needs to become a catalyst in achieving it.