One of the basic needs for human survival is sustenance, and that comes in the form of food and water. In the day and age of dieting and being conscious of what you eat, paying attention to what you consume can easily lead to negative tendencies, like obsessively counting calories or even eating disorders. This can often result in us feeling guilty about what we eat, instead of finding pleasure in consuming foods we enjoy and relishing it as an innate instinct. That being said, it is easy to get out of hand with the types of food we ingest and how often. To find the balance of eating what you enjoy and remaining healthy, consider mindful eating.

Mindful eating is not a diet or a restriction. It does not require a specific eating routine or select recipes to follow. Mindful eating merely asks you to pay attention to what you’re eating, how you feel when you consume the food item of choice, and why you feel like eating that food. Are you eating because you’re bored? Are you wrapped up in emotions? Are you genuinely hungry?

Mindful eating also asks that you tune into how your body feels and check in while you are eating. Are you feeling sated by what you’re eating? Are you continuing to enjoy eating what’s in front of you, or are you pushing through to finish eating just because there is more on the plate? Paying attention to how you feel as you eat your meal will not only help you become more in tune with your body but will also result in you enjoying your food more.

The amazing benefits of mindful eating include recognizing to eat when you’re hungry, loving the taste of healthy food, and realizing that many unhealthy foods don’t taste as good as you initially thought they did. It also helps you manage the emotions you have concerning food and eating in general, and overall enjoy the pleasurable experience of eating.

How to become a mindful eater:

It is never too late to take strides to become a mindful eater. It is a small commitment that will allow you to have a positive outlook when it comes to consuming food and finding a balance. Here are a few tips for becoming a more mindful eater.

  • Eat slowly

One of the ways we ingest more food than necessary is because we eat quickly and become distracted by items around us. Remove unnecessary distractions like cell phones, TV, and computers and focus solely on the food in front of you. Eat slowly and pay attention to how the food tastes and most importantly, enjoy it

  • Recognize your emotions

Are you eating because you’re hungry or because you’re stressed or bored? Emotions like stress, anger, and unhappiness can have a significant impact on your eating patterns. Check in with yourself to find out if your body needs fuel or if your emotions do.