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Mindful Eating

How often do you just sit and eat ...

I mean without also trying to watch TV, work, walk, take a train somewhere, browse Google ...at the same time as eating.

We very rarely just sit and eat slowly - and truly enjoy our food. What does that mean? - Very often we eat very quickly, we eat whilst completely distracted by something else - and we miss all of the cues from our body that we are full (and end up eating a lot more than our bodies really need).

A study recently published by the British Medical Journal looked at the eating speed and weight of 60,000 people. The participants in the study were asked to report whether they ate quickly, at a normal speed or slowly. Those who ate at a normal speed were found to be 29% less likely to be obese and those who ate slowly were found to be 42% less likely to be obese than those who ate quickly.

So what does that tell us? Eating slowly and eating without any distractions can really help us to both control weight and enjoy food more.

This is why MINDFUL EATING is now becoming increasingly popular.

There are a lot of misconceptions about what Mindfulness is. For many people, just the word Mindfulness conjures up images of an Indian yogi sitting in lotus pose or a long-haired vegan man living in Bali. Many people assume that Mindfulness must be about – God, something religious, something spiritual. The idea of being more Mindful - sounds a bit alternative. Mindfulness must be all about sitting for hours meditating – thinking about nothing – just focusing on breathing. In a busy, stressful, demanding world - who even has the time to do nothing for hours on end?Now there is some truth in the stereotypical images that are conjured up when we think of the word Mindfulness. One way in which to learn how to lead a more Mindful life is by meditating – and one form of meditation is focusing on our breath – in order to train our minds/thoughts. However this is by no means the only way to be more Mindful...and indeed just meditating for 10 minutes every morning will not in itself make anyone more Mindful.

So what exactly is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness describes the practice of focusing on the present moment or the “NOW”. Rather than worrying about the future or obsessing over the past, Mindfulness encourages training your mind to focus on whatever it is that you are doing in that moment. Of course you have to occasionally delve into the past and the future - to learn from your mistakes, to celebrate good memories, to plan your goals and to create your dreams...but often thoughts about the past and the future are negative or unnecessary.

Mindfulness also involves doing everything that you do with your complete energy and focus. We live in a world where we have many things fighting for our attention at all times. So instead of multi-tasking and trying to concentrate on several things at once – you are encouraged just to do one thing at a time and give it all of your attention and focus.

So often we are with our children, thinking about our work – at our jobs, thinking about the kids – with a friend thinking about our mum and at lunch thinking about our friend. So often we are physically in one place but mentally somewhere else – and that basically means that we end up missing out on our lives. We are never really enjoying anything that we are doing because we are thinking about something else whilst doing it. So often we are also trying to juggle so many things and yet by multi-tasking our way through life, we never really do the best we can at anything.

What is Mindful Eating?

When it comes to our eating habits - Mindfulness is about focusing only on eating and giving it our full focus and attention. So that means not eating whilst we are watching TV or working but taking time out of our day to eat.

When we eat Mindfully we are much more likely to eat slowly and also to eat much less. When we focus only on eating, we can listen to our bodies' cues that we have eaten enough and also truly appreciate and enjoy the food that we are eating.

SO GIVE IT A TRY THIS WEEK - make eating a priority, make time to eat and enjoy every mouthful - you may just end up loving meal times, food and your body even more as a result.

“Mindful eating is a way to become reacquainted with the guidance of our internal nutritionist.” – Jan Chozen Bays

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