How to Practice Mindful Eating: For Beginners

Living closer to our food source has unexpectedly changed our thoughts about food.

The majority of our meat and produce come from our local farmers because they are closer in location than the grocery stores. However, that forces us to actually see the animals and gardens that our food come from.

By having this as our main source for the majority of our family’s food, we now question our choices more in restaurants and grocery stores.

Going the extra step of raising our own chickens for eggs and gardening a small patch of fruit and vegetables have increased our awareness. We are beginning to practice mindful eating.

Mindful Eating is:

  • Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation by respecting your own inner wisdom.
  • Using all your senses in choosing to eat food that is both satisfying to you and nourishing to your body.
  • Acknowledging responses to food (likes, dislikes, or neutral) without judgment.
  • Becoming aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decisions to begin and end eating.

Tips for Beginners:

Here are a few tips to get a practice started:

  • Make a simple food choice. Start with a small amount of one simple food, such as grapes.
  • Offer your full attention. Allow your senses to become alive: smell the grape, notice its contours, shape, colors, how it feels in your palm, between your fingers.
  • Be mindful of thoughts and feelings. Let the thoughts come and let them go, such as a feeling of disappointment: “It’s only a grape, not a brownie.”
  • Notice flavors come and go. Notice the flavor, the juice, and the different layers of taste.
  • The power of choice. As you become more attuned to tasting and mindfully recognizing the value of food, it helps us see that we have choices.

Our Approach:

Now that we are starting to consciously become more mindful about what we eat, we are using the STOP method. The term STOP stands for Savor, Travel, Observe and Pause.

Benefits:

There is a wide range of benefits from practicing mindful eating.

In a study, eating mindfully, choosing and savoring food away from the distractions of computers and televisions, can help people lose weight.

A few more benefits include:

  • It might help prevent type 2 diabetes. According to a study, people with type 2 diabetes were more likely to be fast eaters than people without the condition. Fast eating has been linked to weight gain in previous studies, and this may be the link that contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes.
  • It can be a useful tool in helping overweight pre-teens. Binge eating is becoming a concern with more adults, but it can also occur in childhood.
  • It can help decrease excessive snacking. Many people multitask while eating lunch, but studies show when people focused on their lunchtime meal rather than simultaneously reading a newspaper or watching TV, they were less hungry at snacktime, and opted for a smaller snack.

Someone Who Eats Mindfully:

  • Acknowledges that there is no right or wrong way to eat but varying degrees of awareness surrounding the experience of food
  • Accepts that their eating experiences are unique
  • Is an individual who by choice, directs their attention to eating on a moment-by-moment basis
  • Gains awareness of how they can make choices that support health and well-being
  • Becomes aware of the interconnection of earth, living beings, and cultural practices and the impact of their food choices on those systems

Practicing mindful eating will change your perspective from not paying attention to your food to being more aware of your choices. Are you ready to start your mindful eating practice?

Recipes. Mindful Eating Cookbook.
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Learn More. Mindful Eating Online Course.
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Originally published at www.citybornsouthernliving.com on June 29, 2017.