Almost everyone, if they take a hard look at their eating habits will see that they are mindless or unconscious eaters. How many of us have eaten a meal and are surprised when they have finished it or wished they had one more cube of chocolate or feel completely overloaded by food.
Jan Chozen Bays author of ‘Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food’ notes that almost everyone will notice that they have some degree of difficulty or lack of control when it comes to food, despite the fact that living in Britain there is an abundance of produce and choice. In her book, Bays argues that many of us have an imbalance with food that can include binging, purging, rewarding or punishing with food that can be both negative for our waist-lines but also our emotions .
Mindful eating originates from Buddhist tradition which encourages humans to only eat when it is physically required not when emotions and exterior pressures demand it. Eating mindfully means that attention is focused on eating and experiencing food while exterior distractions such as talking or watching television are minimised.
Michelle May, award winning author of ‘Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: How to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle’ suggest mindful eating results from eating before becoming overly hungry and choosing food that will satisfy both mind and body. May argues that food is there to be attentively enjoyed and although some foods may be extremely healthy, if it isn’t enjoyed we may be left feeling unsatisfied.
Mindfulness exercises can help to turn off the autopilot button and aid awareness of the present moment which can help minimise stress, enjoying small pleasures in life and could have a beneficial effect on health and weight.