Do you ever find yourself mindlessly eating? Conscious eating might be something for you to try out. Essentially, conscious eating is when you slow down and take note of your emotions and hunger. Over time, you eventually learn to listen to your body, eat when you’re hungry, and enjoy the taste of food in your mouth, versus mindlessly eating just to eat.
Incorporating this new way of consciously eating can be adapted with any eating style because it’s not about what you eat; it’s about how you eat. Conscious eating is all about improving your relationship with food by eliminating the idea of food being ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ Being conscious, mindful, and present can also help to reduce stress overall by introducing new practices like meditation, exercise, and journaling, which can replace emotional eating.
How To Eat Consciously
Becoming a conscious eater is all about learning what it means for you as an individual rather than conforming to set standards. However, due to how abstract conscious eating can be, it can also make it tougher to implement than a more restrictive eating style focused on rules. Beginning to practice conscious eating can sometimes be discouraging for people used to knowing exactly how they’re supposed to eat. Here are some tips to try out to get you started:
Spend a solid week just non-judgmentally observing your eating habits. That means just noticing what you are eating without adding any commentary. You’ll probably be surprised at how many eating habits you have that you didn’t even realize were habits.
- The 5 S’s
Sit, slow down, savor, simplify, and smile. These are the basic next steps to conscious eating, and eventually, they’ll become second nature before you know it. You would be surprised how often you find yourself eating while standing. A study recently showed that we eat 5% more when standing. Sitting down and slowing down will help break down the food, giving you time to think of each bite. Are you savoring the flavors? Savoring means using all your senses when you eat. Once you are done eating, put your leftover food away and out of sight – reducing temptation to go back and pick on it. And while this might sound weird, smiling in between bites has been scientifically proven to give you a moment of pause to determine if you are truly satisfied.
- Ditch the screens
Do you make a habit of eating while looking at your phone, computer or TV? Put all the electronics away (that includes work too!) In order for you consciously eat, you need to be present and mindful with minimal distractions.
- Make time for your meals and snacks
The way our society is set up, we’re always running around everywhere, skipping breakfast, working through lunch, and snacking on junk. If you usually find yourself working through lunch, add 15-minute breaks to your schedule to snack consciously and allow yourself to honor them.
- Eat foods you enjoy
While consciously eating doesn’t dictate what types of food you should eat, you will probably feel your best if you focus on whole, healthy foods most of the time -although there’s absolutely room for enjoying indulgences every now and then!
Just like with any diet change, you’ll need to commit in order to see the changes you’re looking for—regardless of whether they’re emotional or physical.
Though it might seem minor, conscious eating is a lifestyle change. Any time you introduce a new behavior or try to alter our current ones, it is important to be ready for that change so when it gets hard we push through.
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