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Can Mindful Eating Heal Your Relationship With Food?

Written by: Sophie Benbow, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Sophie Benbow

Mindful eating stems from the broader wisdom of Mindfulness which has been a practice for centuries. I started Mindful eating in 2016 when I went to Bhutan which was the catalyst for my own mindful and spiritual journey.

man and woman enjoying the food they eat

What is it


Mindful eating aims to help an individual focus on their food experience without judgment. The intention is to encourage the individual to savour every mouthful and to encourage a positive eating experience. There are many benefits recorded and studied when coupling Mindfulness with eating. It is also used to treat many conditions such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders and other food related disorders.


The benefits of mindful eating can

  • Improve your relationship with food

  • Give you an opportunity to give thanks for your food and practice gratitude

  • Promote relaxation

  • Develop awareness

  • Encourage better food choices

  • Help you focus on nourishing the body

  • Bring a deep satisfaction to mealtime

  • Reduce overeating

  • Help reduce cortisol levels

  • Help you to slow down your eating and therefore improve digestion

How to start mindful eating

  • Prioritise mealtimes and set aside a chunk of time for eating and relaxing with your plate of food.

  • Mindful eating starts with your first thought about food to your last bite. When your first thought occurs, stop, and think about how you are feeling. Are you bored or agitated? Or are you hungry? Eat when you feel hungry (not starving though). If you recognise that you are bored (for example) fill your time doing something else that positive.

  • When you have decided it’s your time to eat make sure you savour your food and eat every mouthful with enjoyment (i.e., slowly). Chewing your food slowly will bring more satisfaction.

  • Along with slowly enjoying your food give yourself time to relax and enjoy your food free from distractions. That might mean going outside for your lunch, turning your phone off, sitting away from your computer, spending it with friends. Give your brain a moment to switch off and enjoy the simple pleasure of eating.

  • Try and work out when you’ve had enough. This is also something that will change from day to day but try and see if you can limit your intake, so you don’t reach your maximum fullness. Feeling full will not only make you feel sluggish and possibly bloated it is often not necessary. Are you bored? Are you thirsty? Are you dehydrated? Think about these things first.

  • Really think about your food and portion size. Think about where it has come from, what it contains, is it natural? how is it going to make you feel? Ask yourself: how is this meal going to nourish me? Often these simple things will make you think twice about what you are eating.

  • Educate yourself on nutrition. Find a person in the healthy culinary world who inspires you. Buy their book and learn some of their recipes and healthy rituals that you can implement into your daily life. Keep it simple.

  • Notice how you feel when you have been eating ‘well’. I know I always notice my clear skin, clear head, bounce in my step and happiness. If you experience this once you will be craving for it again and again.

  • Don’t be too hard on yourself. Yes, sometimes we are caught out and the only option is a sandwich from the service station…don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s meant to be a journey and something that you can change over time. We all have healthy phases and unhealthy phases… it’s called life! Being mindful is a choice you will make when you are ready to cultivate awareness from within.

  • Enjoy your food, it is one of life’s little pleasures! Be grateful for your plate of food and the work that has gone in to making it. Show appreciation and gratitude for your beautiful plate of goodness.

Eating mindfully will be enhanced if you are embodying other mindful practices in your routine such as journaling, identifying your personal values, mirror work and meditation. Enjoy the journey.


Follow me on Instagram, and visit my website for more info!

Sophie Benbow Brainz Magazine
 

Sophie Benbow, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Sophie Benbow is a self-development coach, Mindfulness and Meditation teacher who holds various qualifications in Health & Fitness. She aims to guide you on a journey of self-love, healing and compassion. Head on over to her website to enquire about coaching, listen to her meditations and follow her social channels.

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