Food in the current times is a domain that receives constant scrutiny, assessment, and judgment. It seems in this era of information technology, the internet, social media people are getting abundant information (which happens to be a concoction of true and untrue facts). Hence, people are obsessed with the idea of “eating right”.
However, when you get down to the question as to “what is eating right?” the answers that you get can be quite confusing. To explain the whole thing further, there are certain cliché ideas of a proper and balanced diet. It has to be something that will help the body to be in proper shape and will help the general health of an individual to be in the right state. So, all the extra fatty things must be removed and has to be replaced with more vitamins and minerals that come from fruits and vegetables. Along with what to eat, the questions like when to eat and how much to eat also emerge and receive quick answers.
To everybody’s surprise, not all these answers and information is helping the majority of the world to be in better shape or even in a better health condition. Hence, mindful eating is the need of the hour.
What is Mindful Eating?
The fact that the people of the current times happens to be overly obsessed with the dietary charts they follow not only includes just the things that they eat but also the pattern of eating that they follow which will comprise of the volume in which they eat and also the timings of their eating. This entire phenomenon or practice often fails to attain the desired goals. There are people who have baffled and failed and ever since have tried to look for reasons for this failure and tried to understand what went missing in spite of them doing it all. Clearly, their entire effort and an attempt was much artificial in their nature and was not in sync with the actual nature of their bodies.
Mindful eating is a process where the hearsay and all the advice from the outer world need to be kept at bay and the basic requirements and the needs of one’s own body have to be assessed. This is a process where a person needs to spend some time with himself, listening to his body, so that he can actually make out the requirement and the real needs and hunger of his body.1 This is when he will understand the exact nutrition elements that are required by his body and eating what will benefit his health the most. Mindful eating is where a person has to disconnect with the rest of the world and what the outer and the external experts have to say about the ‘perfect diet’ for your body. This is the time when you must sit down and listen quietly to the requirements of your body and let your body tell you just what is exactly needed by it.
One of the best ways of doing it is to sit and understand and analyze your carvings. Very commonly it has been seen that we oft deprive ourselves of the food that we crave the most, just to serve the basic parameters of eating healthy. This ultimately does not render any benefit. Mindful eating here will be to grant ourselves our cravings just once in a while so that the earnest yearn for the item dies out in us. Mindful eating is eating as per the desires of the body and the mind trusting that our bodies tell us best what is required by it and what will help it the most.
How to Nurture Your Body with Mindful Eating?
The central essence of mindful eating is that we start trusting our body to know what is best for it. Another aspect of mindful eating is that we need to stop listening to the outer world for healthy eating habits, the perfect dietary pattern, the way we should start looking to be attractive to others and the basic notions of beauty and health. It must be understood that everybody is different and its essential attributes like the rate of metabolism, requirements, and tolerance levels will also be different.2
We need to be comfortable in our skin and stop being over pushy, harsh and unforgiving with ourselves and our bodies. The following are some ways to listen to the body and nurture it through mindful eating2,3:
- Eat While Hungry: The most important and probably the thumb rule is that you must eat when you are hungry.2 Please allow your body to tell you when it requires food and listen to it to stay in good health. Eat all the while you are hungry and do not stop eating just because you feel that you have exceeded the supposedly right amount.
- Make a Diet Plan but Don’t Forego Everything Else: Make a dietary plan or chart for yourself and include all the healthy items in it. However, in this endeavor, do not leave out all the other interesting food that you love the most. This deprivation of the natural cravings of your body can never make the whole plan hundred percent successful for your systems.
- Sometimes Indulge for Cravings: Once in a while, you must eat for indulgence.3 You must eat comforting and indulging food items if you feel that it has been a particularly challenging and tiring day and you deserve a treat.
- Eat Proper Amounts and Regular Hours: Do not forego important meals of the day. It is imperative that you have at least four meals a day. These meals roughly must be taken during certain broad timings of the day.
- Trust your Body: Sometimes overeat and feel the unease. At times you must also under eat and feel the emptiness. Just trust your body that it will fill up the gaps left by you.
Mindful eating is a practice where a person creates a connect with his body and mind and starts responding to the needs and the urgencies of his body and not what the rest of the world has to say. This is a pattern that is taking up more momentum in recent times. This is a pattern of behavior that can do much benefit to your physical and also psychological health. This is one of the ways again that negative body imaging can be reduced to a great extent.
- Ogden, J. (September, 2011). “The Psychology of eating: From healthy to disordered behavior”. Wiley-Blackwell.
- Harvard Women’s Health Watch. (January, 2016). “8 steps to mindful eating”. Harvard Health Publishing. Retrieved from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/8-steps-to-mindful-eating
- Williard, C. (January, 2019). “6 ways to mindful eating”. Mindful. Retrieved from https://www.mindful.org/6-ways-practice-mindful-eating/