Transform Your Relationship With Food
When was the last time you slowed down and really enjoyed the experience of eating? It’s easier said than done, especially amidst the frenzy of modern life.
Mindful eating – an awareness of why you’re eating and how you’re going about it – doesn’t just increase delight in the textures, tastes and sensations your food provides. It also empowers you to transform your relationship with food, giving you a deeper understanding of your habits and the thoughts and feelings you associate with eating. It allows for a more sensual experience around food, during which you can take a moment to communicate with your body and connect with your mind, often something we forget to do as we gobble down lunch at our desks, eat dinner as we check our emails or watch the latest box set.
In this post, we explore the benefits of mindful eating and provide some tips to help you start your journey.
Discover lasting changes for body and mind
Mindful eating isn’t about judging yourself or the food choices you make. It’s not about restricting what you eat or fad dieting. It’s about getting more enjoyment out of every mouthful and being in tune with your body, developing an awareness of your food as a source of nourishment that’s crucial to your health and vitality.
With practice, mindful eating empowers you to eat a healthy amount and keeps in check any tendencies to overeat due to stress or habitual behaviour. Here are a few of the benefits it delivers:
- Optimise digestion by slowing down your eating – When you eat quickly your stomach can contract, which often leads to discomfort and bloating. Take time to chew your food and you’ll produce more saliva, helping enzymes in the mouth begin the digestive process and release nutrients for energy
- Stop viewing food as a temptation or with regret – Mindful eating allows your brain time to realise when your stomach is full, helping you reduce emotional eating and mindless snacking that has little or no nutritional benefit
- Develop your understanding of hunger – There are many triggers for hunger, including smelling something delicious or looking at the dessert menu, but mindful eating will help you decide whether to act on that feeling or make a new choice in the moment
- Forge deeper connections with those you love – Sharing meals with others is great for conversation and good for the soul – mindful eating builds stronger relationships and allows you to lead by example, encouraging your children to foster a healthy relationship with food
- Increase your self-trust – Eating mindfully teaches you to trust your instincts and respect your body’s needs, helping you make the best decisions for yourself
Put simply, mindful eating gives you extensive insight into the connection between mind and body, allowing your body to communicate with you and helping you discover a healthy relationship with food.
Techniques to help you master mindful eating
Mindful eating can become a wonderful and empowering way of life. However, as your start your journey, it can sometimes feel as though you may never master the art.
We’ve put together a few tips to help you become more mindful in the way you eat. Like everything in life, practice makes perfect. However, don’t berate yourself if it just isn’t practical to do it at every single meal. You’re not going backwards or undoing all your good work if you occasionally revert to your old habits.
- Consider why you’re eating – Is it because you’re genuinely hungry, or are you eating to alleviate boredom or stress? A huge part of mindful eating is awareness rather than eating as a reflex
- Try not to eat on the go – Sit down at your kitchen table or desk or surround yourself with nature somewhere outdoors, try not to get distracted by reading a book or responding to emails whilst you eat
- Spend some time sitting quietly before you eat – Even if it’s just a few seconds, this gives you a chance to breathe in the delicious aromas of your food, enjoy the array of colours and reflect on its journey to your plate, as well as taking note of how it makes you feel…grateful?…healthy?
- Chew your food 10 to 15 times before you swallow – Pay attention to the tastes, textures and sensations you’re experiencing, noticing the movements of your jaw and the subtle transition from chewing to swallowing. Savour and enjoy the flavours.
- Aim to make each meal last at least 15 minutes – Give yourself permission to slow down and focus on nourishing your body
Remember, everyone occasionally overeats. When this happens to you, be gentle and forgiving with yourself. You’re on a path with twists and turns but you’re heading in the right direction.
Ultimately, mindful eating is about calming down, slowing down, learning how to savour and delight in textures and tastes. It will help you to make the right decisions for your body, developing a healthy relationship with food and saying goodbye to shame or guilt.
Join us on one of our luxury retreats programmes during which we’ll teach you how to rediscover the sensuality of food and connect with your body, nourishing it and trusting it to communicate with you in a different way.
CTA: Our luxury intellectual wellness retreats for women are designed to transform your thinking, including mindful eating, positive psychology, integrative and functional medicine. Explore our programmes to learn more.