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By Olivia Janisch

Consider, for a moment, if everybody experienced perfect health. Where our bodies didn’t hold onto extra weight, our brains could signal for us when to stop eating, and avoiding toxic foods wasn’t a battle every day.

Well, recent studies suggest that this ideal can be achieved by integrating one thing into our lifestyles: Mindful eating.

Mindful eating is the process of smelling your food, chewing slowly, paying attention to how your body feels while eating, and doing something most of us don’t do at meal time: simply eat.

A large percentage of people admit to having dieted in their life and many end up back at their same weight, while 40% end up at a heavier weight five years after dieting. Clearly, the traditional norms of what constitutes weight loss aren’t working. According to Harvard Health, ‘Mindfulness helps people learn the difference between emotional and physical hunger by introducing a “moment of choice” between the urge to eat and eating.’

Neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt suggests in her Ted talk that mindful eating may be the way to permanent and lasting weight loss. She suggests that by learning to understand our bodies we can focus on preventing weight gain, instead of having to work on weight loss. When we work with our bodies, we can relax about food and be in harmony with our appetite instead of fearing it. It’s about learning to listen to your body’s hunger signals and knowing when you’re full.

From a spiritual perspective, mindful eating means honoring your inner wisdom by choosing and preparing foods that nourish your life force, and helps you become aware of the motivators and factors that influence your decisions on what and how to eat. It’s the process of asking yourself, Do I need this? Why am I eating this? It helps us to reduce obsession over controlling our eating and let’s us focus on the enjoyment of it.

When we come into awareness of our eating habits we’re able to make much better choices about how we eat. This turns our experiences into proactive ones, instead of using food as a reaction to our hunger, emotions, or situations.

Learning to eat this way frees us from old habits and patterns that hold us back from our true potential. It heightens our awareness of the role that food plays in our lives and the decisions we make based around food. It enables us to have very alive experiences every time we eat, which translates into other parts of our lives.

Tips for mindful eating:

-       Take small bites, chew slowly

-       Before you go to the fridge or pantry, ask yourself if you’re really hungry

-       Set a timer for twenty minutes and take that time to eat a meal

-       When you eat, just eat. Don’t look at your phone or read. Just eat.

-       Try it once a day or once a week – just take the chance to get into it

Photo by Zugr

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