What is smart eating and how does it help you?

The answer to the question of whether and to what extent there are positive emotions in relation to food is probably a resounding yes. But how close is it to today’s reality? How well do we know how to enjoy food and how the food we consume affects our body and psyche?

Usually we will eat quickly and mechanically, without thinking too much and without wasting precious time. We’ll end up feeling worse often, maybe because we ate a little more, maybe because we ate a little less, because of the demands of a diet plan, or because food ultimately fails to fill the emotional void. The our feelings about food, will often have a negative sign. This is because we haven’t found a way to connect with our bodies and pay attention to how we eat.

And here comes the practice of mindful eating, which is more than just a modern diet trend. Meeting these criteria forms the basis of any nutritional approach that will lead to a change in the way we view food. He comes to teach us to pay attention to ourselves and the way we eat, helping us to make peace with food and thus with ourselves.

What is smart food?

Smart eating, as it is commonly called, can be translated as conscious eating. Mindfulness – or mindfulness – in a more general context, is defined by a professor and teacher at the University of Massachusetts as “the knowledge that results from our deliberate observation of our present experience without criticism and with sincere interest.” Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the research program on the topic. Mindfulness is a holistic approach to the functioning of mind and body. By incorporating mindfulness into our lives, we can transform our relationship with our experiences from negative to harmonious, begin to skillfully manage the challenges that will inevitably arise, and also enjoy our everyday moments more!

So when we talk specifically about mindfulness in our diet, we would say that it involves paying attention to the style, quality and quantity of food. But not with a restrictive attitude towards ourselves, on the contrary· giving space to enjoy food while honoring our internal hunger and fullness cues. This would lead to a fundamental change in our relationship both with food and with ourselves.

Does Mindful Eating Help You Lose Weight?

Despite our efforts to figure out what the most effective diet is, we keep coming up with the same answer: All diets may seem effective in the short term, but none work in the long term. And that’s because mindful eating is the missing piece to driving food behavior change and long-term results.

Weight loss may not be an end in itself with mindful eating, but it will lead to it by changing our relationship with the food it offers. Something similar, in fact, is an easier path than we imagine when we hear the word diet – without restrictions and deprivation.

Our available research converges with this approach and demonstrates an indirect rather than a direct association of weight loss with mindful eating.

What I can achieve by eating smart:

  • You will be able to improve your digestion, which is the cornerstone for the proper functioning of the body, and thus your health.
  • You will lose weight in the long run without excess, guilt or deprivation.
  • You will break the connection between your emotional state and your eating habits.
  • You will feel better as your mood and energy will noticeably improve.
  • This will become a daily practice of mindfulness for you and lead you to apply mindfulness to other areas of your life for greater benefits.

How will you accomplish this?

There is no specific framework for applying mindful eating techniques or rules to be followed faithfully, as the practice aims to focus on each individual’s lived experience.

However, the following tips can help in our mindful eating efforts.

1. Before eating, think about whether you really feel hungry

Before looking for something to eat, think about whether you are really hungry or you are acting mechanically. As easy as eating when hungry may seem in theory, we usually have a hard time putting it into practice.

There are several reasons that will lead us to the table. Biological hunger is the body’s natural need for food, and we perceive it through the stomach. Hormonal changes such as decreased insulin are responsible for this. So our body gives us signs that it needs fuel.

Unlike physiological hunger, comes emotional hunger. It can start as a need to eat when we don’t really need to, to calm down when we’re upset, to celebrate when we’re happy, or to eat a snack because we’re in pain.

If you are not really hungry, it is better to postpone the meal and do something else that will make us happy.

2. Notice how stressed you are

If you’re feeling anxious or stressed, it may not be the ideal time to eat. You may not be able to focus on eating, feel hunger and fullness cues, or enjoy eating.

In addition, digestion may not be adequately completed under stressful conditions. This is because of the term “fight or flight response”, which describes our body’s reaction to danger in order to survive. In fact, with the help of cortisol and other hormones, our body “guards” forces so that it can deal with potential danger by “flight or fight” by moving blood and energy to the extremities and performing secondary functions such as digestion.

3. Choose the right environment

How is it possible to focus on eating when there are so many stimuli around us? We can stand up, run to work or eat in front of the TV. Maybe we don’t have time to sit still and eat, or we fear the silence while eating. If we try to eat in a quiet environment and sit properly, we will find that it is much easier to concentrate on our food.

4. Slow down and enjoy every bite

Our daily lives are all moving so fast because we feel like we have to catch up. Every slow movement sometimes seems like an unnecessary waste of our precious time.

But mindfulness doesn’t fit this logic. We need to give ourselves time to think and enjoy the food. Let’s look at it as a rite of passage. Learning to enjoy the food visually first, then trying to understand each taste and giving time to properly chew the food.

5. Consider the journey of food to your plate

By the time the food lands on your plate, it has probably traveled several kilometers and required effort. Think for a moment about what it takes to produce this food you consume. Soil and sun that help the fruit grow. The conditions in which the animal is raised. Be grateful for everything that goes into producing the food you consume, and make your choices based on the method of production.

6. Finish the meal when you feel full

Check your sensations after each bite. Do you feel full? Need more? Is it time to stop? You don’t need to see that the plate is empty to finish. Learn to listen to your body and stop when you feel full.

7. Drive away negative emotions

Often, if we eat more than we think we “should”, we will feel regrets and negative emotions, which will likely lead us into a vicious circle of “self-punishment”. Instead, it would help if the choice to eat something “not so healthy” was made more consciously, accepting our need in the moment and fully enjoying that “indulgence”. Without feeling guilty and blaming ourselves. At the next meal, we will try to make a more nutritious choice, being psychologically fuller and stronger.

If the way we eat is directly related to how we experience our daily lives, mindful eating is the first way to incorporate mindfulness into our lives. Let’s make room for this change in approach, make more conscious choices, and turn the negative emotions that prevent us from making the right connection with food and ourselves into positive emotions that can guarantee our health and well-being!

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