One of the many benefits of practicing yoga is you start to become more present and mindful. You worry less about what happened in the past or what will happen in the future and focus on what is happening right now.
Mindfulness brings awareness to what is around you and what is going on inside you. You start to notice how your body is feeling, your thoughts, and your behavior.
When you’re mindful of the foods you eat, you identify how different foods affect your body and you react accordingly. You start eat foods that give you energy. You begin to eat slower and recognize when you are full. And, you identify cravings from hunger.
There are many benefits to mindful eating, such as weight loss, reducing binges, and improving digestion.
Listed below are a few ways to start eating mindfully.
Cravings vs Hunger
When you start craving a food, slow down and ask yourself if it is a craving or are you hungry. Instead of reacting automatically, take a few minutes to tune in to how you are feeling. Drink a glass of water. Are you still having cravings or are you hungry?
Another way to tell if you’re having cravings or are hungry, is to eat a bowl of vegetables. If you’re hungry, then the vegetables will fill you up. If you’re still craving a specific food, identify what it is your craving, and eat a small portion of it after you eat a bowl of vegetables. The vegetables will fill you up and prevent you from eating too much of what it is you are craving.
Eating while distracted, such as watching tv or working, has shown to increase the amount of food people eat. When we’re not fully aware of what we are eating, we don’t process that information and are soon reaching for more food. Mindful eating forces us to appreciate the different flavors, smells, and colors of our meals.
When we eat fast, our bodies don’t have enough time to register it is full. It takes approximately 20 minutes for our brains to receive the signal that we’re full. It’s usually after we have overeaten that our bodies start to feel discomfort.
Eating slowly without distractions will help you tune into how your body feeling. So, how do you eat slowly? One way is to set your utensil down while chewing or take a drink of water in between bites. Having a conversation with friends and family will also help you eat slower.
To begin experimenting with mindful eating, choose one meal to focus on. Once you get the hang of it, add another meal. Continue in this fashion until you feel confident with mindful eating.
Mindful eating is a great way to feel in control with what and how much you are eating.