Obesity or ‘weight gain ‘has become a serious matter of concern for a present-day modern human. We owe this to our busy bee unmindful lifestyle. It is unmindful because our busyness has become more of an unavoidable habit, rather than being actually an enjoyable occupancy. It is therefore rightly called as a rat race, where we are doing lots of things, without actually involving in any of those. This unmindful lifestyle of ours doesn’t allow us to take wiser habits and therefore takes a toll on our food habits too. Eating your food is different from tasting your food. We all eat our food, but very few actually taste their food. How many of us pay any attention to the taste, flavour, texture and aroma of the food? The truth is that we don’t even chew our food the right way.
Gaining weight has resulted from our distorted form of eating habits, and therefore results in a type of weight cycle i.e. losing weight for some time, and then again gaining it. Losing and gaining results in a complex weight cycle, because of our permanent unmindful relationship with food. As other complexities, our relationship with food has also become complex. We are indiscipline, unorganised and unreasonable regarding our food habits, as a part of the endless assault of modern-day distractions, resulting in new phenomena like ‘mindless eating’, ‘stress-eating’, emotional eating etc. Practising mindfulness in daily life helps you manage all the external triggering factors, affecting your lifestyle.
Mindful eating involves eating with intention and attention, having a purpose with full awareness. A mindful eating cycle is a decision-making model developed by Michele May, M.D, where the emphasis is given on mindfulness-based strategies to generate more awareness to eating process. The cycle involves six decision points like :
Why: Why do we eat? We eat only when hunger triggers. It is important to be aware of the hunger to avoid emotional eating.
When: When to eat? Are we eating in a schedule, or munching every now and then? Am I really hungry?
What: What to eat? What is healthy or unhealthy for you? Are you consuming something unhealthy in a rush?
How: How do you eat? Are you a rush eater, always in a hurry? Are you giving some time in eating?
How much: How much to eat? Is the portion compatible with your hunger scale? Is it starving feeling or is it mild hunger?
Where: Where do you invest your energy? Check if you are utilising the energy intake from food? Are you justifying your meal with your physical moves?
Regulator monitoring the answers to the above questions will help you develop awareness towards your eating habits, hence led you towards mindful eating.
Guide yourself to mindful eating process with the following helpful tips:
- Avoid autopilot eating: Eating the same thing every day for regular meals, as in autopilot mode, leaves you unsatisfied, and internally hungry, which fuels the tendency of unmindful munching every now and then.
- Be aware of emotional eating: Examine whether you are satisfying emotional hunger or actual hunger. Most people, whenever they feel stressed out, or low, take to eating, even though they are not hungry in the real sense. This also leads to unmindful eating.
- Check your portions: Check your portion of food on your plate. Measure it with your hunger scale. Eat only to meet your hunger.
- Focus on your mouthful: Be conscious of what you are eating. Take mindful bites. Chew your food, relish its taste, texture and flavour.
- Take time: Eat slowly. Eating properly is equally as important as other works. So, allow a proper time for eating. It is said well to have at least 20 mints for a meal.
- Stay away from distractions: Avoid multitasking or any kind of distractions like T.V, phone, during eating your food. Try focusing on your meal, even without any conversation too.
Healthy and Mindful Living..!!