This results in complete ‘mindless eating’, and what we need becomes over ruled by the subconscious.
It seems that how we choose food can be influenced by a multitude of factors inclusive of lighting and our company and their consumption. it is completely possible that what someone else ingests decides what and how much we eat ourselves. Just like a writers pad determining the prose, the size of our plates and cups also play a part in our choices.
‘Mindless eating’ is a major factor in weight gain and as such a saboteur of weight-loss. Meals often take careful consideration and planning, so it seems its the moments in between meals that constitute the problem. Eating on autopilot, be it emotional triggers like stress, anxiety, sadness or frustration or environmental factors like watching television accompanied by a snack.
Applying Mindfulness to your eating provides lifelong changes and often breakthroughs with what once may have been failed diet after failed diet.
According to Susan Albers, PsyD, author of Eat, Drink and Be Mindful (New Harbinger 2009),
Albers breaks mindful eating into three components:
- Mindful Eating in the Moment. This means getting rid of distractions like reading, watching television or eating on the go. It also means being aware of the sensations of eating—really tasting, smelling and enjoying the food as you eat it. Finally, it means knowing what it feels like to be hungry or full, and learning to honor those signals. “Mindless eaters have so lost touch with the feeling of fullness. But with practice you start to realize, if I eat any more, I’m not going to feel good. ”
- Nonjudgmental Awareness of Eating Habits and Beliefs. Albers encourages her clients to keep a food journal to get a clear sense of their eating habits, and to pay attention to habits like where they keep food in the house or office and how they go about food shopping. It’s also important to notice how you talk to yourself about food. “Be mindful of the voices in your head, the messages Mom might have given you about food.” Common self-defeating beliefs include not wanting to waste food, putting foods into black-and-white “good” and “bad” categories or trying to show people you love them by sharing rich comfort foods.
- Nonjudgmental Awareness of Environmental and Emotional Triggers for Eating. A bakery case full of French pastries may trigger a craving that was not there a moment ago. That craving has nothing to do with the body’s true needs and everything to do with the eating environment. A mindful approach can help you become aware of the difference between hunger and craving. And when you are aware of your personal triggers, it is easier to avoid them or to pause and make a conscious choice. Stress is another common trigger for overeating, but it’s not just negative feelings that trigger mindless eating. “Positive feelings can prompt automatic eating, too,” Albers says. “You want the happy feeling to continue, so you celebrate with food to hold on to the joy.” Mindfulness can help you recognize when you are eating for emotional reasons and can allow you to develop other strategies for self-soothing or celebrating.
Changes to diet and eating habits is never a quick fix and changes should be monitored and expected results to become apparent over time. Making conscious choices in all areas of your life wont come easy and may be daunting at first. The more you apply Mindfulness to your eating the sooner a new habit becomes… habit!