“Don’t get lost in your past or chase your future; Rather live in the present moment.”
Our mind is a powerful tool. Due to this, we can function, think, store and retain moments, memory, habits, behaviour and so on. Thus, many doctors, as well as psychologists, focus on cognition (mind) to transform an individual’s life. Mindfulness means being in the present moment instead of dwelling on the past life experiences (positive and negative moments) or predicting and worrying about the future. Furthermore, Mindfulness refers to viewing oneself without judgment and criticism; instead, mindfulness focuses on being compassionate towards self and other individuals.
In other words, in today’s era, we are preoccupied with our past mistakes, experiences, and moments as well as future desires, aspirations, dreams, and passion rather than enjoying the here and now (present moment). Furthermore, we are all stuck in the rat race, i.e. we are either running behind the future or stuck in the past; Therefore, we forget to live our lives to the fullest in the present time.
What do you mean by ‘Mindful Eating Habits’?
Mindful eating is one of the best ways to rediscover the most pleasurable form of consuming food, we can do as a human being. Further, it helps to uncover many diverse activities going on within our own body when we eat, including reconnecting and being one with our food. Along with eating mindfully, we are indulging in the present, i.e. we relate to the food rather than the surrounding. Moreover, mindful eating is not directed by charts, tables, pyramids, or scales or by an expert dietician. Instead, it is dictated by our own inner experiences, lifestyle and living situation. Each one of us will have a unique mindful eating experience and habit. Thus, we are our own experts.
Additionally, as we eat mindfully, we replace self-criticism with self-nurturing, anxiety with curiosity, and shame with respect for our own inner growth and healthy living.
Why do we tend to ‘Over Eat or Avoid Food’?
Nowadays, you may do one of the following activities or tasks whilst consuming food: watching television/laptop/iPad/phone, having a conversation with other individuals, reading a book and/ or listening to music rather than focusing on the food which is in front of you. Moreover, many a time you may eat to drown your emotions, or you may treat your food as a need (task) rather than enjoying it.
Further, the important element while eating mindfully is to be aware (awareness). For instance, as we indulge in different activities while eating, we may consume an entire meal, an entire carton of ice cream, an entire bowl of sweets and not taste more than a bite or two. As we don’t taste, we will end up being stuffed and feeling bloated, at the same time, we will feel unsatisfied. Moreover, the mind-body (hand and mouth) connection is absent, as we are not tasting or enjoying our food as we eat. Our stomach may be full as we consume food, but our mind and mouth are not satisfied. Thus, we may keep on eating, even though we are not hungry or full. Whereas, when we eat mindfully, we pay close attention and enjoy the colour, look, texture, smell as well as the feel of the food. Therefore, we may consume a small portion of food in mindful (peaceful) eating state and still feel content, full and satisfied. Hence, mindful eating has the unexpected benefit of helping us not only to tap into our body’s inner wisdom but also our heart’s natural capacity for gratitude and openness towards different aspects of our life.
How can you inculcate ‘Mindful Eating’ in your daily routine?
- While you are serving the food, check the size of the plate as well as self-service is beneficial. In other words, choose a small or medium-size plate depending on the type of the meal and fill your own plate instead of asking others to do it for you.
- Eat-in intervals i.e. 2-4 hours gap between meals. Moreover, fill your plate half the first time, then pause and ask yourself, “Do I need a second serving of food? Will I be able to finish the second serving?” if your answer is ‘yes’ then help yourself to the second serving of food.
- The choice is enabled through awareness. In other words, be aware of your emotions, mental state, and physical needs (energy, craving, deficiency and so on). Ask yourself “Are you truly Hungry? Are you consuming food to drown your negative feeling? Are you feeling lonely or stressed out?”
- Don’t compromise with your health. Eat food which nourishes your body, rather than getting influenced by stigma, peer pressure, societal pressure, commercials, food trends (fads) and so on.
- Eat your food slowly. Studies have shown that consuming your food gradually helps you to enjoy your food, and to reduce indigestion, lethargic behaviour after a meal, as well as to reduce acidity and other food-related problems.
- Observe the food that is going in your body. Connect with your food. If you don’t like the food, you are consuming than change the food item.
- Consult a well-qualified nutritionist who can guide you through your healthy eating journey.