Eat for yourself, eat with pleasure and eat fully: the best diet ever! “Mindfulness” is gaining popularity in the wellness and health movement. We often talk about mindfulness meditation, but it also applies to diet. If you want to improve your eating habits, this can be a good first step. Mindful eating will help you respect and understand your body’s needs, without compromising the pleasure of eating. But what is it exactly? Another complicated diet? Absolutely not. A diet often involves deprivation. Mindful eating, on the other hand, is about eating what you want and fully enjoying it. The only indication is to listen to what your body asks of you and to recognize why you want to eat this food or that other. In other words, you are raising your level of awareness about what is going on in your body and the foods you use to nourish it. Worried about eating poorly or overeating if you don’t follow a strict diet? You will quickly find that your body’s innate intelligence will guide you towards healthy choices and let you know when you’ve had enough food. A Deep Connection Exercise Most people know the basics of healthy eating. So why are they eating so many foods that are harmful to their health? It is because they are disconnected from the basic needs of their body. By consciously eating, you enable the connection between body and mind. You hear your body telling you: stop, eaten enough … It is also learning to treat it with respect, by giving it what it really needs to function well and continue to serve you in your life experiences. It’s not so much what you eat, but how and why you eat. Go ahead, eat a burger or some cookies if that’s what you really desire – as long as you do so with full awareness of the reasons behind the urge. If it’s to spoil your palate and it’s been a long time since you haven’t eaten it; go there without remorse! It’s okay not to always follow the perfect diet guidelines. It is not to cheat, but to be human … You will see that taking full advantage of these small differences will allow you to reduce the urges for certain foods. If, however, you realize that you want the burger because you are hungry and that you haven’t taken the time to prepare a good meal, for example, you know that the satisfaction of eating it will not be great enough to offset the effects on your health. That too helps reduce food cravings. Cultivate Your Consciousness Mindful eating does not happen overnight; it is a practice which is cultivated and which requires time. The more you practice it, the better you will listen to your needs and the more you will enjoy pampering yourself with good food. The key is to recognize your harmful automatic habits and replace them with what is actually nourishing your body and mind. Here are a few tips: Chew slowly and use your five senses to pick up all the information from the food and enjoy the experience. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied, not full! Take your time: take at least 20 minutes per meal (your brain needs this time to detect the state of fullness). Before eating, ask yourself: How bad is my hunger? And during the meal, take a break, breathe and ask yourself: am I satisfied? Take meal times as an opportunity for personal connection, not an escape from routine. Sit in a quiet location, limit noise and sources of distraction. Instead of multitasking, just eat and enjoy every bite! Take it gradually. One or two mindful meals a week may be enough to start a change in your eating habits. In addition to making your meals much more enjoyable, mindful eating can help you recognize certain emotional patterns related to your food intake (food cravings, for example). Understanding your true motivation when you eat can be a big step toward healing and wellness.
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