Eating habits can be a tricky subject. When taking into consideration the various disordered eating patterns in the world, experts are here to help with calming and gradual solutions. One technique is the element of mindful eating, and we are here to unveil the truth behind it and why it works.
It's vital to enjoy our well-being. This ranges from healthy habits such as exercise, journalling, friendships, and how we eat. Having a healthy relationship with food allows us to enjoy and appreciate what we spend hours upon hours cooking up in the kitchen. Instead, others might not realize what is put in front of them and hence, not acknowledge the nutrients and energy we are fuelling our bodies with. By enforcing mindful eating, we will become involved with the practice that allows us to enjoy food while taking advantage of all our senses, according to the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (2015). This technique overpowers mindless eating, where meals are consumed without paying attention. Dietician Laura May Janse Van Rensberg told LiveScience, "the focus is really on the meal."
Rensberg continued, "looking at the food and how it is presented on the plate, taking time to enjoy the smell of the food, listening to the sounds of food being served, picking up a fork or spoon and feeling the weight of the cutlery in the hand and then finally eating the food and tasting every bite." Research has found that this technique has become more common, and in return, victims of mindful eating have found improvements in their digestive health and weight loss. Primarily, Sam Jahara, a psychotherapist at Brighton and Hover Psychotherapy, acknowledged how our eating behaviors stem from childhood experiences, for example, how our primary caregivers fed us, shaping our minds and how it applies to food. To test out the strategy, one should aim to "reduce overeating, eating too quickly and eating to deal with difficult or unwanted emotions," says Jahara. Slowing down our eating encourages a "stress-free environment." In theory, the less anxious we are, the less likely we are to resort to overeating or over-restricting. According to the journal Nutrition Research Reviews (2017), "mindful eating and other mindfulness-based approaches may particularly help with binge eating, emotional eating, and excessive eating." Still, significant changes in eating behaviors might need to involve regular interventions to maintain the technique at a steady and healthy pace.
With scientific evidence, mindful eating is a great strategy to test out if you're feeling uneasy with your eating habits. While this technique does not focus on weight loss specifically, there are no strict diets or intuitive eating involved. Instead, mindful eating helps reignite the love for food again.