The proper diet involves not just what you eat – when, how, and how much you eat matter as well. Ineffective digestion often stems from not following the simple concept of awareness of what you’re eating, while you’re eating.
Mindful eating teaches both our body and mind about hunger and satisfaction. It has actually been shown to reduce binge eating, help with weight loss and make us feel good all over.
The practice of mindful eating helps us gain control over our eating habits. In essence, mindful eating involves paying full attention to the food we eat, including what we buy and how we prepare and enjoy our meals.
Taking the time to create a ritual of nourishing intent when you eat means that your body is fortified rather than depleted of nutrients due to your eating habits. You’ll end up consuming less as you’re present in the moment of eating and more likely to stop when you feel satiated.
Overeating is usually a result of individuals not being mindful or wholly present as they eat. Hence, it’s important that you take the time to enjoy each meal. Put aside everything else (physically, mentally, and emotionally) and simply focus on eating. Being connected with your body at mealtimes is imperative for a strong mind-body connection.
How to develop the habit of mindful eating
The following guidelines should help you establish healthy and sensible eating habits:
- Never eat when you’re tired, upset, angry or worried. Fatigue, negative emotions and stress all impair proper digestion.
- Don’t eat unless you’re really hungry. Your body isn’t ready to receive the food unless you’re truly hungry.
- Eat your largest meal at midday. When the sun is at its highest, so are the digestive powers of pepsin, one of the main enzymes responsible for digestion and metabolism. Constantly high levels of pepsin can lead to acidity and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
- Have a light meal for dinner. Ideally, you should have your last meal of the day at least three hours before retiring. Eating heavily or too late at night will leave undigested food to putrefy in the gut and disturb sound sleep as well as digestion.
- A little light exercise before meals stimulates the appetite and digestion. It does this by consuming residual humoral superfluities.
- Drink the most water between meals. Only take occasional sips as you consume a meal, as drinking too much water dilutes the digestive juices. Small amounts, however, will moisten the food and lubricate its passage down the gullet.
- Don’t overeat. Never fill your stomach past three-quarters full. Always leave some space for air – that way your stomach has some working room.
- Chew your food well before swallowing. Digestion does not simply take place in the stomach. It begins in the mouth by masticating the food and mixing it with saliva.
- Eat in good company. This makes mealtime a happy and joyful occasion. Did you know that excessive pensiveness and melancholy can ruin digestion?
- Never eat on the run. Always take the time to digest your food properly. Anxiety and stress interfere with proper digestion.
Take the first step to mindful eating
While it may seem like a no-brainer, mindful eating can be easier said than done. A lot of things can get in the way of establishing a healthy and mindful eating routine – busy lifestyles, wrong food choices, a lack of determination, or even hormonal issues!