These days, everybody is in a hurry. There is so much to do and so little time it seems like. From deadlines at work, to kids’ soccer practices it can feel like there is no time to sit and down and enjoy a meal. We do just about everything in a hurry including eating. The problem with eating in a hurry is that you can eat a lot of food in a short time. You will end up eating a lot more than you need without feeling satisfied and without enjoying your food. This is because it takes about 20 minutes from when you start eating until your brain registers that you are full. Because you don’t feel satiated, you are likely to eat more food trying to get that sense of satisfaction. Usually, you end up eating foods that are high in sugar, calories, and salt without much thought. This is obviously not good for weight loss and your health.
Mindful eating is the answer. Mindful eating is being present and paying attention. It is paying attention to what you are eating and how you eat. Instead of mindlessly shoving food in your mouth, you take time to eat your food. You chew your food completely and appreciate every bite. Notice how you feel during and after eating. You pay close attention to the flavors and texture of the food. Take about 20 minutes to really enjoy your meal. Mindful eating has roots in Zen and Buddhist teachings. Mindful eating allows you to slow down and enjoy your meal.
Practiced consistently, mindful eating has many benefits including;
- Enjoy your food more. You will discover the difference between feeling satisfied and being stuffed. When you are satisfied, you can tell that your body does not any more food. It becomes easier to stop eating without stuffing yourself. This will help you eat less and help you lose weight.
- Help to identify emotional triggers that cause you to overeat or eat when you are not hungry. This could be the key to ending emotional eating.
- Might help you identify any food sensitivities that you were not aware of. By paying close attention to how you feel after eating, you might discover that you are intolerant of certain foods. This is very important because food intolerance is thought to be a major reason why some people are unable to lose weight.
- Confidence to socialize. A lot of people find it very difficult to go out or socialize when they go on a diet. When you practice mindful eating, you are in control of what and how you eat. It is empowering to know that eating healthy does not have to keep you away from your friends and family.
- It can open you to living a more mindful life. To slow down and smell the roses as the saying go. You may just have more joy in your life.
Dr. Ife Ojugbeli, M.D, MBA