Paleo. Keto. Atkins. There are so many diet and meal plans out there that it is hard not to get completely overwhelmed. Studies have shown that there is one thing you can do, regardless of your eating plan, that will create a healthier way of eating.
The Psychology of Eating Mindfully
When we look at our eating plan, the first thing we consider is what we eat. The second thing we look at is when we eat. While these two factors are extremely important when considering our wellness, the most important factor is something we often overlook. Eating mindfully is the single most important habit that drives transformation.
The Wins Behind Eating Mindfully
- Eating slowly will allow you to eat less and not feel deprived.
Studies have shown that people who take twenty minutes more to eat a meal can end up eating around 60 calories less. This is because it can take a while for your body to process that you are actually full. Leptin, the hormone that causes you to feel satiated, needs time to be released. If you are already eating a second helping before this process takes place, you will end up over eating.
- Eating slowly will help with digestion.
Eating quickly will leave you feeling bloated and will cause indigestion. This is because you are taking bigger bites and chewing less. When food isn’t broken down properly, it will also not be able to absorb optimal nutrition, vitamins and minerals.
- Eating slowly will help you to listen to your body.
We usually rely on the time of the day to know when to eat a meal. “Lunchtime” is often not determined by our hunger levels. The amount that we eat is also not often determined by the fact that we feel full. When we start eating more mindfully, we will begin to pick up on our body’s signals that it is full. When we eat intuitively, we also will begin to understand what hunger really feels like as well. In this way, we learn how to trust our body.
- Eating slowly allows us to feel in control.
One of the main reasons that diet plans and meal plans don’t work is that our control is taken away from us. When we are told what and how to eat, we feel powerless. If we actively eat more slowly then we are taking the control back into our own hands. Regardless of what we are eating, if we are eating slowly then we decide when we are full and how much we will eat. Our hunger no longer controls us.
Some tips on how to eat more mindfully:
• Breathe while you eat. In between bites, take a few moments to stop and breathe.
• Add just one more minute. Start by slowly extending the amount of time it takes you to eat. Start with one minute at a time.
• Try not to eat while driving, or while on social media, or over the kitchen sink! Try to make every meal a mini celebration. Savour the time and make sure it is distraction-free.
• Eat food that really needs to be chewed. Notice which foods take the longest to break down.
• Do something between bites. You can maybe try putting your utensils down, or try sipping water (warm water is best).
Eating slowly and mindfully is a practice. Each meal will be an opportunity to get better at it. This is a really wonderful habit to adopt as you will truly cherish moments in the present.
Have a wonderful day.
Lots of light and love xx