8 Unexpected Benefits of Mindful Eating
By now you’ve heard that mindfulness is in. But, this is not just some fad or trend. Mindfulness is here to stay because at it’s base core, it’s all about living in the present moment, without judgement, just observance. And when people get wind of amazing it feels to eat like this, there is no looking back.
Mindful Eating, thus, is living the experience of eating, fully embodied, and noticing how it feels in the body. Mindful eating detaches us from morality and focuses, instead on the experience itself – the gratitude for the food, the noticing of flavors and textures and nuances in the food. Can you imagine just eating and doing nothing else, not even reading? Do you wonder what you might be missing with eating when we eat in a distracted way or multitask? Mindful Eatings gives us answers when we tune in
Mindful eating also helps to divorce ourselves of the morality and stories we create around food, whether they are true or not.
But, there are many other benefits to mindful eating that extends beyond this.
1. Helps with bloating and GI distress
When you eat really fast you run the risk of gulping more air than you’d like as well. Slow and mindful eating helps to reduce bloating and other GI effects, like not fully chewing and masticating your food properly to alleviate a lot of tummy troubles.
2. Helps to let your body know when it’s full.
Mindful eating helps you regulate your hunger hormones (ghrelin and leptin) especially if you’ve chronically dieted for much of your life. When your hunger hormones are calibrated and working in harmony, it sends your body clear messages of hunger and satiety, and when you’re eating slowly and with awareness, you can listen to and respect those cues easier.
3. Give you a true lens into the foods you love or just think you should love
I remember, when I was first learning mindful eating, my instructor gave us an exercise to eat crackers and cheese mindfully through a guided meditation. I had always thought that I loved wheat thins and that I couldn’t have them in the house for fear of eating the whole box. When I actually slowed down and actually fully tasted them for the first time, I realized I didn’t even like them! It was a major aha and breakthrough for me that I could let go of my stories around food and truly tune into what I really loved to eat so I could savor every bite.
4.Has you more aware of gratitude for where the food came from and who prepared it.
When you take a few breathes and ground yourself before eating you also can move into a frequency of gratitude. Gratitude for the beautiful food on your plate, all the people who were involved in harvesting the ingredients, preparing the meal and or getting it onto your plate. When we shift into gratitude we can’t help but be happier and more joyful while eating.
5. Helps put you in a relaxation response
Deep breathes alone can help get you out of a stress response and more relaxed. But, too often we don’t even realize how our own thoughts and beliefs about food and who we are as eaters creates chronic stress on our bodies. Anchoring yourself before the eating experience can help get you into a calm and relaxed state perfect for eating and the digestive response.
6. Lets you allow pleasure and sensuality to be part of the eating experience
Lets face it. Eating is sensual and can be fun and joyful experience. When you slow down, you can start to use all your senses in the eating experience. You can smell the food, touch the food and even listen for sounds like crunchiness. Of course, tasting food and letting it linger on your tongue amplifies the pleasurable aspects of eating of which we are all capable of having.
7. Allows for the cephalic digestive response.
Did you know that you start digesting your food before you even take a single bite? Have you ever walked by a bakery and felt your stomach growl or you start salivating? This is the cephalic digestive response which gets your body prepared for eating and digesting food. When we eat hurriedly and with distraction, our bodies miss this very important phase of digestion and can make it harder for us to fully digest and more effectively assimilate the nutrients from the food.
8. Beefs up your prefrontal cortex and calms the amygdala.
When we eat mindfully, we operate from our more modern and advanced areas of our brains. When we eat in a stress response and don’t take the time to calm down, our amygdalas (your brains’ smoke detector to let you know if there is a crisis or impending emergency and you have to act fast.) We cannot properly digest our food when we’re stressed. Mindful eating deactivates the amygdala, and helps us get out of our reptilian brains which act on instinct and into our more rational part of our brains, helping us to make better decisions around food.
Mindful and intuitive eating works for so many reasons. If you’re interested in taking a deeper dive into the what why and how of mindful eating, join my free 7-day mindful eating course today and get on the fast track to slow eating.
Which of these 8 reasons have you compelled to try mindful eating? I’d love to hear in the comments!