When you live in the moment and stop worrying about the past and future, but really hone in your focus to what is happening in the present, you are practicing mindfulness. There are many benefits you get from being more mindful, including when it comes to eating.
Why Use Mindfulness for Eating Habits?
Mindfulness is a state of living in the moment, where you think about and appreciate and absorb what is happening right now, without worrying about the past or future. It is not helpful for your mental health and wellbeing, but for your hunger and appetite as well. Here are some ways to use mindfulness to help with your appetite.
The sections below are going to explain more about mindfulness and how it can help you curb cravings, and change your eating habits as a whole.
Change Your Eating Habits
The first benefit for your hunger and appetite is changing your eating habits. In mindfulness, you learn to live only in the moment. What does this mean for eating? When you eat, you get rid of all outside distractions so that you are only thinking about what you are eating. This means turning off the TV, not using your cell phone, and not listening to music.
You want to be in a quiet, peaceful environment where you really concentrate on what you are eating. Focus on the quality of the food, the smells, tastes, and textures. You learn to enjoy and appreciate food for what it is and how ti fuels your body, instead of just mindlessly eating without ever thinking about it. You are changing your eating habits by developing a mindful eating practice.
Learn to Identify Hunger
Another way mindfulness helps with hunger is by helping you to identify true hunger from other types of hunger. There are many types, including mouth hunger and mind hunger and emotion hunger. True hunger is when your stomach sends you cues that it is time to eat. If you are on a normal eating schedule, you should start getting these hunger pangs around the same time each day. However, if you tend to eat and snack haphazardly, then you might feel constantly hungry because your body doesn’t have a good eating routine or signs that you need to eat.
Live a Mindful Life
Not only will mindfulness help when it comes to eating and your appetite, but it helps in other ways as well. You learn to appreciate each moment and focus only on how you feel right now. You don’t stress yourself out about worries of the future or regrets of the past. Living in the moment is about acknowledging your life right now, and using that to better yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally.
There are so many benefits to mindfulness even beyond helping with your hunger and appetite. But once you have that under control, you can manage your weight and have a healthier lifestyle overall.
Heal Your Relationship with Food
Mindfulness while eating is very close to intuitive eating. You are going to change how you eat, what you choose to eat, and how you feel when you eat. If you have a damaged relationship with food, such as from many years of restricting and dieting, then you need to work on that first before doing anything else. Mindfulness can help with you that.
It is going to teach you how to recognize your hunger cues, and give you something to focus on while eating. You won’t just snack mindlessly, and hopefully over time, it can also help with any binge eating tendencies you might have.
Signs You Have a Damaged Relationship with Food
binge eat or out of control while eating
You are afraid of eating too much
You track everything you eat
You skip parties or social occasions that will have food
You tend to eat much too quickly, only to have room for more
You eat during highly emotional times, whether happy, sad, angry, stressed, or have other powerful emotions
You restrict to the point of cutting out entire food groups
Many people have a bad relationship with food and don’t realize it. They yo-yo diet or restrict constantly, then go through periods of overeating compulsively. This can be binge eating, or just overeating of foods during certain times, like when they are stressed or have cravings.
Mindfulness is going to help you focus more on your eating habits, instead of on what you eat. In the beginning, you will eat whatever you are interested in, without restricting or counting calories and carbs. Sit down during your meal, shut off the TV and your phone, and just pay attention to how you feel when eating these foods.
Do you feel satisfied? That is all you need to know for the first steps.