It’s a good idea to let a well-developed sense of hunger and satiety and our sense of taste guide us in our eating decisions. Mindful eating can lead you back onto this natural path. Ilona Just, diet assistant at Aramark, explains six reasons why it is good to eat more consciously.
Mindful eating means listening to your body and finding out when and what food is really good for you, instead of mindlessly eating something when you are stressed or frustrated, for example. This also includes critically questioning whether you are really hungry or whether you actually need something else. That means remaining alert to what you’re doing. And understanding what the real signs are that your body needs food.
1. Anyone can practice mindful eating.
Mindful eating is not at all difficult. Avoid distractions, such as reading the newspaper or watching TV, so that you can concentrate completely on eating. Deliberately eat slowly, so that you fully enjoy the taste and aroma of your meal. That way, you’ll be more aware of when you’ve had enough, too. It only takes a little readjustment and discipline until this way of eating becomes a habit. It’s worth it, because you’ll feel better and probably eat less, but you’ll definitely get more enjoyment.
2. Mindful eating is suitable for daily life.
Mindful eating means you don’t have to do without anything and you can always eat what you’d like. Your guide is your own body; it will tell you what it needs, when to start eating, and when to stop. You just have to learn to listen to it really carefully. If you do, it will give you good advice for the rest of your life.
3. For greater self-confidence and well-being.
Mindful eaters usually feel more comfortable physically and worry less about their figure. Nothing is prohibited. Consciously giving yourself permission creates more self-confidence.
4. Balanced choice – quite naturally.
Mindfulness encourages you to think more consciously about what you need. That way, you usually make a healthier and more balanced choice of foods and still consciously allow yourself a little treat every now and then. As a result, you also avoid getting into the vicious circle of dieting and yo-yo effect, as happens with many diets.
5. “Forbidden foods” are less tempting.
Once you realize that you could eat ice cream every night, the idea of nightly ice cream orgies doesn’t seem so attractive anymore. Mindful eaters who consciously choose what they eat and focus on their senses while eating soon discover that it is not the quantity that determines the enjoyment. On the contrary, after a certain point, a luscious dessert becomes less and less attractive with every bite.
6. Mindfulness improves your feeling for food and for your own body.
Mindfulness is not really for the impatient. It takes some time to get used to more consciously planning, preparing, and eating meals and snacks. It means shifting down a gear and enjoying the slowness that gives you space to be aware of your body and its reactions, to consciously choose your food, and to eat mindfully. But you will notice that the way you relate to your body and your food improves and becomes pleasantly relaxed. Give it a try.
Note: Since everyone’s health history and nutritional needs are so different, please make sure that you talk with your doctor and a registered dietitian to get advice about the diet and exercise plan that‘s right for you.