It’s December! Which means it’s time to be festive and get into holiday mode… I thought a topic on this may be useful to help prevent putting on some unwanted kilos.
Ever shovelled down an entire bag of chips without even realizing? When you are feeling bored or emotional, do you find yourself rummaging through the fridge? This is being mindless. The opposite to this is mindful eating. This puts emphasis on the experience of eating and being aware of what you are putting into your mouth. It can also give you great insight into what is actually driving you to eat. Are you really hungry, or are you eating to pass time or take a load off after a hard day at work?
This doesn’t mean that we can only eat food to fuel our bodies. We can also eat something because it is damn delicious and we are going to enjoy every bite of it. But what we need to avoid is using food as a coping mechanism to deal with disappointments or stresses of life as well as just to pass the time. Mindful eating is about savouring each bite of food and appreciate everything from the flavour to the texture, and enjoying the experience of eating, without guilt.
There is plenty of research to support the benefits of mindful eating:
It is common for eating behaviours’ to feel automatic and not necessarily be driven by physical hunger. Hopefully by understanding the different types of hunger you will be able to identify your ‘triggers’ and not fall into the cycle of mindless eating:
Mouth hunger: the taste of food is one of the biggest factors that affect our food choices. If we don’t take time to appreciate the texture and flavour of food, we may end up overeating because we feel less satisfied.
Stomach hunger: the stomach cues our physical hunger, giving us signals such as an empty feeling or sometimes embarrassing growling. Listening to your hunger cues can help you eat mindfully because you will eat when you need to and recognize when you start to feel full.
Heart hunger: emotional stresses and being upset is another reason why people feel ‘hungry’. Eating for comfort might feel good in the moment, but will not satisfy in the long term.
Stay tuned for a follow up post including tips on how to eat mindfully.