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Conscious Meals: How to Practice Mindful Eating

By September 11, 2023 Dining
conscious meals

Being mindful and gently focusing on the present can be more difficult than you might think. Our society is constantly on the go, which can be great if you need to get things done quickly, but it can also make it more difficult to focus on the here and now.

Mindful eating and conscious meals sound easy in practice, but if you’re juggling a hundred things at once, focusing on what your body needs tends to fall by the wayside. So, keep reading to find out more about conscious meals and how to practice mindful eating.

What Is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating focuses on being mindful in general. You have to be present in the moment while also acknowledging your thoughts and feelings.

Mindfulness is applied to eating in the sense that it goes beyond the individual. It also includes how what you eat can affect the world and the people in it. This is why mindful eating is associated with eating for total health.

One of the core foundations of mindful eating is considering the sustainability of food crops along with the health benefits of the food. Mindful eating has similarities with the Mediterranean diet. It focuses on the following food items: 

  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains

However, the concept of mindful eating can be applied to any meal, even fast food. When you pay attention to what you’re putting in your body and how sustainable the food source is, you’ll find you naturally consume less fast food.

In it’s essence, mindful eating focuses on the following:

  • How you buy food
  • How your food is prepared
  • How it is served
  • How you consume it

Mindful eating can take time to get used to, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t immediately get the hang of it. When in doubt, you simply need to consider which is the healthier food choice.

Understand Your Motivations

You have to consider why you’re eating. Are you eating foods that are nutritionally healthy and will feed your body, or are you emotionally comforting yourself with food? 

It can be tricky to find nourishing foods that you also enjoy and find comforting to eat. This is why you have to slow down and carefully consider the food you’re eating. If you slow down and eat healthy foods with an open mind and heart, you might just find that they’re more enjoyable than you initially thought they’d be.

As you mindfully eat a variety of foods, you’ll slowly find you get the same comfort from these meals as you would fast foods. Once your motivations and mindset around foods change, you’ll feel emotionally and physically more full from your meals.

Your Body and Brain

Have you ever been so hungry or excited about a meal that you ate way too much, too quickly, and ended up feeling ill? This is because you didn’t give your body time to catch up with your brain.

Slowing down and eating mindfully is the best way to get your body and brain time to communicate. You can stick to the best food plan and never feel satisfied if you don’t give your body time to send satiation signals to the brain. If you don’t slow down, you’re more likely to overeat since you don’t feel satiated.

Once you slow down, your body and brain will have the time to communicate effectively, keeping you from getting uncomfortably full. A good rule of thumb is to go back to the old-school principles of setting your fork down between bites and chewing your food for a certain amount of time.

Hunger Signals

If you want to get started with mindful eating, you have to be able to identify your personal hunger signals. This will help you differentiate between when you’re bored or emotional and when you’re actually hungry.

Our minds can be tricky. If things are stressful or you aren’t stimulated, your brain might tell you that you need to eat even if you aren’t actually hungry. This is why you have to be able to listen to your body and not your brain.

Common signals that our bodies give when we’re hungry include:

  • A growling stomach
  • Feeling tired or low energy levels
  • Feeling lightheaded

Once you’re able to differentiate between the queues your body gives you vs. the ones from your brain, you’ll find it much easier to eat mindfully, and you might even experience some weight loss.

Avoid Multitasking

The opposite of mindful eating is distracted eating. That is why multitasking when it comes to mealtime is a recipe for disaster. 

When you’re watching TV or playing a game, then it’s harder to listen to your body’s wants and needs. We unconsciously eat until there’s nothing left in front of us.

Many people use these distractions to avoid being present with their thoughts and feelings, but these avoidance techniques cause more harm than you might think. Consider why you’re so against letting yourself feel everything the next time you reach for the TV remote while eating.

The world is a busy place, so it can be difficult to switch everything off and simply focus on your meal, but your body will thank you in the long run. Once you’ve made mindful eating a habit, you’ll find that you’re excited for this period of time where you simply focus on what your body is telling you and live in the here and now. Everything will still be there once you’re done eating, so take the time to sit back and fully embrace mindfulness.

Conscious Meals Made Easy

When it comes to conscious meals, it can be difficult to get started, but once you’ve made it a habit to be in the here and now more often, you’ll find it gets easier. Eating a healthy diet has many benefits but can be difficult. As you start to consider where your food came from and the impact it has on the earth, you’ll naturally gravitate towards healthier choices.

Are you ready to get started on the path to a healthier you? Click here to find a ChiroThin doctor in your area.