Mindful Eating: Why Our Food Should be More Connected to Our ThoughtOur insanely busy lives can often drown out the relationship we have with our thoughts, feelings, and sensations. When our connection to our mind and body is not clear, this makes it hard to express emotions, make decisions, and process situations with a clear, rational mind.
Practicing mindfulness is an extremely broad, life-encompassing term to describe the practice of sustaining attention on the body, the breath, thoughts, feelings, sensations, or whatever arises in each moment. The process of mindfulness can be applied to almost any daily activity and can greatly enhance one's life with improved mental clarity, increased concentration, a greater sense of empathy and oneness with one's environment.
But what about paying attention to the things we put in our mouths?
I can speak from experience when I say that it is easy to get caught up in our daily routines. We wake up, we eat, we work, we eat, we watch, we play, we eat, and all too often we mesh some of these things together, multitasking the day away to be 'productive' so we can feel as though our time was used 'proactively.'
It is quite common to have an unnatural, mindless relationship with our food. If you eat too fast, the feeling of being full may arrive once you've already eaten too much, since the brain takes up to 20 minutes to realize that you are full.
This may sound a little strange, but many people eat with very little or no understanding of their hunger levels, and this impacts not only what we eat, but how we eat and how often we eat. It can be easy to mindlessly eat when we define our meals around the idea that we all need three meals a day. However, hunger and the need for nutrition is actually subjective to each individual person. I'll often find myself eating big meals one day, and snacking on little bits or eating one or two meals the next.
Our hormones, experiences, and our environment reflect the sorts of foods we need to eat and how much we need to eat them. Therefore, it is only fitting to consume energy based on what we are doing and how we are feeling, which may mean re-thinking the way we eat and paying close attention to the needs of our body and the cues it sends to us.
What is Mindfulness?Practicing mindfulness is an extremely personal thing, you can choose to be mindful in millions of different ways - it isn't exclusive to practices like yoga or formal mediation, you can even practice mindfulness whilst making your morning coffee! Informal mindfulness is when a sense of awareness and presence is brought into each moment of daily life without the need for long periods of serious contemplation, which is often the easiest way to reap the benefits of living mindfully.
How can I be mindful when I'm eating?
Mindfulness whilst eating helps to cultivate pleasure, sensation, and satisfaction with your food. By simply restoring your attention to your food, slowing down the process, and eating with an intentional act, rather than an automatic one, it becomes easier for you to distinguish between the emotional and physical cues of hunger.
Here are a few ways to replace old eating habits with new, conscious mindful habits:
Remember that there is no 'right answer' to mindful eating, there can only be guidelines. The process by which you engage with your food should be completely unique, as long as you are simply giving attention and love to yourself and your meals!
About The Author: Lauren Crabtree (@crabbypatty__)~ 'A POSITIVE LIFE STARTS WITH A POSITIVE MIND' ~
Lauren is a passionately driven graphic and textile designer living in Sydney, Australia. Her work is driven by the desire for a better future, one that returns to a love for the handmade, and one that respects the impacts of textiles on mother nature.
Lauren loves to blog about creativity, sustainability, health, and wellbeing. She believes in the power of positivity and engages in a mindful, intentional life.
Lauren loves learning about new cultures and is particularly fascinated by traditional Indian textile processes and Indian culture.
Lauren loves to weave, crochet, eco-dye, screen print, block print, wrap, and macramé.