Mindful Eating in a Few Easy Steps - Mature Health Center

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Originally published March 9, 2015, last updated March 3, 2015

Mindful Eating in a Few Easy Steps

Mindful Eating in a Few Easy Steps

Being conscious of the food you put in your body can benefit not only your physical health, but also your mental and emotional wellbeing. Keeping track of what you're eating can be overwhelming for some, and focusing on it too much can cause unnecessary stress.

Mindful eating doesn't have to be a challenge or stressful. It's all about creating new healthy eating habits, which can be a culinary adventure. Once you get the hang of it, you'll notice improvements in every aspect of your health.

How to improve your eating habits

It will take time to break the cycle of craving and buying unhealthy foods, but you can purchase healthier options with a few tricks, according to The Telegraph. First, implement the 80:20 rule. Under this ratio, no more than 20 percent of your food should come out of a tin, packet or box. This greatly reduces the amount of processed and unhealthy foods you eat on a daily basis and moves you toward a diet with more fresh produce. Second, try to buy seasonal and local food. Along with the 80:20 rule, this will help you buy fresh fruits and vegetables.

Slow down your eating

When a meal is placed in front of you, there's no need to consume it as quickly as possible. In fact, it may be beneficial for you to slow down, The New York Times reported. By taking one bite at a time and putting your utensil down in between, you have time to truly savor the flavor and texture of your meal. Not only will you enjoy your food more, you may eat less of it as well. Even if weight loss isn't your goal, eating at a reduced pace gives your stomach and brain time to communicate and signal when you're full.

Embrace technological help

Kim Flannery, a nutritionist, was displeased with the weight-loss and eating apps on the market, so she created a new kind of app, which is focused on the user's lifestyle instead of strict weight-loss regimen goals, the Milwaukee Business Journal reported. The purpose behind Flannery's app is to inject more self-compassion into the process of building a healthy lifestyle and, if needed, losing weight. The app helps users determine his or her feelings and motivations at the current moment, then provide the necessary support.

Mindful eating can mean something different to everyone.

"The question isn't what are the foods to eat, in my mind," said Dr. Michael Finkelstein, who runs a holistic living center in New York, the Times reported. "Most people have a general sense of what the healthy foods are, but they're not eating them. What's on your mind when you're eating: that's mindful eating to me."

For others, mindful eating is about fueling emotional health through physical health, and even for others, it's about letting go of guilt and shame in order to feel more compassion for ourselves and others.

Whatever the meaning or motivation behind mindful eating, it can be achieved by focusing on slowing down and buying more fresh than packaged food.