Mindful Eating, Part 2

Intro

Here’s the 2nd part of our blog post on Mindful Eating. We hope it’s helpful to you…

Benefits of Eating Mindfully

For many people, eating is a mindless act, often done quickly.  By eating mindfully, you restore your attention and slow down, making eating an intentional act instead of an automatic one that comes with many benefits:

  • Control food instead of it controlling you:  We each have our own attitudes and patterns of behavior around food, contributed by genetics, circumstances, and family conditioning.  Mindfulness inserts a pause to help make you aware of your own decision-making.
  • Increase enjoyment of food:  When you slow down your eating, you taste and enjoy your food more.
  • Easier digestion:  By thoroughly chewing your food, you begin the digestion process in the mouth.  Digestion is easier because you’ve adequately broken the food down and incorporated essential saliva.
  • Reduce calories:  By eating more slowly, you’ll naturally eat less, which means you’ll reduce the amount of calories consumed.
  • Reduce stress:  When you slow down and breathe, particularly when you extend your exhale, you activate the whole rest-and-recover side of your nervous system.  This not only manages stress, but also can improve digestion.
  • Less binge eating:  When you’re mindful, you realize food is just food, and you can free yourself from the emotions that fuel your mindless eating habits.  You don’t have to eat your feelings.  You only have to eat when you’re hungry, and healthy food choices that will satiate your hunger most efficiently.
  • Lose weight:  Mindful eating slows yourself down to truly think about your food choices.  You’ll free yourself from the idea that a food is “good” or “bad,” and you’ll choose food that helps your body work at it’s optimal level.  Those healthy choices set the stage for potential weight loss.
  • Enjoy the moment:  Mindfulness removes distractions, and allows you to sit uninterrupted with your food.  You begin to take your time over a meal, you reconnect with your senses, and become re-acquainted with the pleasure of eating.

What happens when we don’t eat mindfully

Mindful eating takes work, and it’s easy to get distracted and slip back into old habits.  When we take ourselves out of the moment and start eating mindlessly, we grab for foods that aren’t healthy, we overeat because we aren’t paying attention to physical hunger cues from the body, we make negative associations with food (labeling certain foods as “good” and “bad”), and we don’t distinguish between true hunger and non-hunger triggers for eating.  Instead of eating to maintain overall health and well being, we eat to satisfy a craving or an emotion (guilt, anxiety, comfort, reward), not to maintain the health of our body.

A food journal is a mindfulness tool to check in with yourself on how you feel before, during, and after you eat to help you relate emotions and thoughts to mindful eating.  In your journal, record what you eat, when, and how often you eat.  The journal should help you understand your eating patterns, and help you find ways to make simple, healthy changes.

Mindful Eating at OHI

Mindful eating is one of our core values at OHI, and our Inspirational Testimonials class frequently touches on this topic.  Guests share inspiring stories of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual healing, and the breakthroughs many of them make through mindful eating are quite moving.

So the next time you sit down for a meal, employ mindful eating and rediscover the joy of food.

In these uncertain times, look to OHI as your safe haven.  As we celebrate 43 years of holistic healing, we can teach you how mindful eating can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health.  Stay safe, and be well.  Above all, embrace positivity!

Mindful Eating is just one of the practices you will learn during a visit to OHI San Diego or OHI Austin.  We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. For more information, visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org or call us at (800) 588-0809.

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