BRINGING MINDFULNESS TO FOOD
Mindfulness is a type of meditation practice that has been gaining popularity in recent years, though it has been around much longer. Perhaps one of the reasons behind this recent surge in popularity is the ability to practice mindfulness in a variety of ways. Not only can you practice mindfulness through meditation, but mindfulness can be incorporated into daily activities like washing the dishes, eating or walking. Whatever the form, mindfulness involves focused attention on the present moment and being mindful to your internal and external environment.
So if mindfulness is a simple practice to incorporate into your daily life, should you? Probably! An increasing body of research suggests that mindfulness confers a myriad of benefits to those who practice it. According to the American Psychological Association, these benefits include: reduced rumination, stress reduction, improved working memory, increased focus, decreased emotional reactivity, among other benefits. When mindfulness is applied to food, the benefits can increase further.
Mindful eating might involve setting aside time to eat, tasting each bite of food, slowing down a meal, paying attention to internal hunger and satiety cues or any combination of these. Being present during meals can lead to increased meal satisfaction, decreased portion sizes and a better relationship with your body and mind. Intuitive eating is a way of eating that incorporates mindfulness and allows you to listen to and trust your body. Unlike a diet, intuitive eating does not require you to follow specific rules regarding when, what or how much to eat. These specifics come instead from your body…if you choose to listen. By listening to your body’s needs, you can learn to make food choices that will provide enjoyment while also properly nourishing your body with good nutrition.
If you are interested in learning more about mindful eating, you can check out “Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works,” written by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch or schedule an appointment at PEAK Health and Fitness to meet with a Registered Dietitian.
Davis DM, Hayes JA. What are the benefits of mindfulness. American Psychological Association. 2012;43(7):64.
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