Eating mindful – what does that actually mean? Today I would like to discuss this topic intensively, give you tips on how to bring mindfulness into your meals and tell you how mindful eating can contribute to weight loss and stress reduction.
We all know this typical scenario when we sit and eat, our mobile phone vibrates and we spend the whole meal on our mobile phone without really noticing it. The TV trap is similar – when you sit on the couch in the evening and watch a film or a series next to your meal. Or the classic: Lunch in front of your laptop. I must also plead guilty here because this is a habit that I have maintained for a very long time.
Eating unmindful: a habit that can not only lead to unwanted kilos, but also to an absolutely unappreciated feeling of hunger. Not to eat attentively and distractedly confuses our connection between body and brain, so that we switch to autopilot and lead ourselves one fork after the other to the mouth without really noticing what we eat and how much we eat.
Our taste buds also suffer from this multitasking addiction. We don’t notice very much of the taste if we can’t even perceive the meal properly. Our body already does the movements automatically, while our mind concentrates on the other activity (e.g. smartphone).
When I realized over and over again last year how hard it was for me to actually do nothing during the meal, except enjoy the meal, I read a book about mindfulness at the same time, in which one chapter also dealt with exactly that. Since then, with a few exceptions, there has been no more lunch in front of the laptop, no smartphone at breakfast and increasingly rarely dinner in front of the tv.
With my 5 mindful eating tips today I would like to give you some thought-provoking ideas about mindfulness and also tell you what has helped me the best to eat more attentively and consciously.
Why are you eating? From hunger, emotions or habit?
The moment we are not attentive and conscious, we no longer listen to ourselves and our body and its signals. The consequence of this is that when it comes to food, for example, we do not eat when we are hungry, but simply do it because we are so used to it. So before we fall into autopilot, we should ask ourselves these questions:
- Am I hungry or am I eating on a whim?
- Where am I with my thoughts when I eat?
- Am I saturated?
- How’s my food?
Eat mindful – 5 tips to eat more consciously
1. No distraction
… the most important point right from the start: put down your smartphone, close your laptop, turn off your TV! Make a habit of mindful eating. Sit at the kitchen table and enjoy your meal without distraction. Nothing is so important that you can’t even put it aside for 20 minutes at dinner.
2. Be in the Here & Now
Smell the scent of your meal, feel the consistency of the food, taste every aroma. This will help you to be more attentive at the moment and to feel and taste your food with all your senses.
3. Take your time
Don’t gobble up everything, but take time for your meals. The fact that we are used to eating quickly makes us swallow even more air, which causes a bloated stomach and an unpleasant feeling in the intestines. Chew slowly and enjoy this little time-out. Mindful eating means eating without haste and stress.
4. Listen to your body
As I mentioned above, it is sometimes not so easy to distinguish between autopilot and hunger. Therefore, before you make yourself something to eat, you should listen to yourself and ask yourself if you really feel hungry or if it feels that way, because it is currently 12 o’clock and you have been eating at this time of day every day for years.
You should also pause after eating and consciously perceive your body’s signals. Do you feel comfortable or have you eaten one portion too much? Is your stomach bloated and squeezing or do you feel completely comfortable? Get to know your body better, listen to its signals and follow them. This way you can train your feeling of satiety properly again and release it from the autopilot mechanism.
5. Give your body healthy nutrients
Just as important as mindfulness during eating is mindfulness in the choice of food. How would you like to feel? Energetic, happy, healthy and balanced? Then choose your food afterwards. Remember that our food is the gasoline of our body. If you give it empty food (unhealthy food, fast food, heavily processed food, too fatty, too one-sided), it will not bring you the energy you would like. You’ll feel tired, limp and listless. If you give your body permanently healthy energy, many nutrients and vitamins and a balanced diet, this not only has a good effect on your body, but also on your mind. Of course, this does not mean that you have to do without everything, but as they say, everything should be enjoyed in moderation, such as alcohol, fatty or sugary foods.
I personally feel best when I eat enough fresh fruit (bananas, berries, khaki, grapes, apples) and vegetables (potatoes, zucchini, lettuce, cucumber, tomato) and proteins (chickpeas, beans, nuts, quinoa, seeds etc.), drink a lot and of course reward myself with a piece of chocolate every now and then. What is a balanced diet for you?
Lose weight by eating mindfully
Attentive eating can also have a big effect on weight loss. In one study, 80 participants were divided into two groups. The first group who learned about mindful and conscious eating lost an average of 1.9kg body weight. The control group only 0.3kg.
The fact is that we very often eat out of habit, although we are not hungry at all. Recognizing and changing this behavior is a simple step that can make a big difference, especially when you are losing weight or on a specific diet.
Finally, I would like to share with you a quote that you can keep reciting in your mind when you try the mindfulness exercises during the meal:
Your body is your temple. You do your body good and your body will do you good.
Still looking for inspiration for healthy recipes? Then try my quinoa salad, or maybe the pizza base made of two ingredients? On my recipe page and Pinterest you will find some more dishes you might like.