Do you sometimes feel that you are completely switched off during a meal and eat food just to complete the task, or do you remember at 7 in the evening that you only drank one glass of water? Yes, you are definitely not the only one on the planet who faces the fact that conscious eating is not the number 1 priority. Preoccupation with work, children or mobile phone in hand make it difficult to establish a sense of self during meals. Conscious eating is a term that sounds simple, as if it goes without saying, because in order to eat if it is not conscious, you still need to hold the fork in your hands. However, in today’s age conscious eating is actually a big challenge for each of us and it is necessary to emphasize its value. It implies the recognition of all emotions, physical changes and thoughts during the consumption of a meal. Conscious eating, for example, means that you will not force yourself to eat an avocado whose texture and taste you do not like at all, even though you have heard that it is healthy and popular. Previous research has shown that conscious eating can contribute to greater pleasure while eating and to a better general psycho-physical condition.
By practicing conscious eating, we will eat exactly as much food as our body needs.
Conscious eating can help in developing a healthy relationship with food, recognizing the amount of food that our body really needs, maintaining an optimal body mass, and ultimately choosing better alternatives to processed products because we begin to notice the quality of the food we eat. As an individual’s diet today is significantly poorer in whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, through the practice of conscious eating, we will see its value and the way in which such food enriches our body. However, it should be kept in mind that conscious eating is not a method of losing weight and that overeating as well as deliberately reduced food intake are not a sign of conscious eating. Practicing conscious eating, we will eat exactly as much food as our body needs and at the time when it is ready to eat without a strong feeling of hunger. In this way, we can avoid unnecessary overeating and the well-known afternoon fatigue.
During your next meal, try the following:
- Before the meal, check with yourself whether you are hungry and to what extent, whether you feel your stomach is empty and what kind of meal you are eating (without judgment).
- Chew the food slowly, notice its taste, smell, texture and pay attention to the color and ask yourself if you like what you are eating (without judgment).
- During the meal, check with yourself whether you are full or should eat more, whether you are eating the meal too quickly (without judgment).
- After the meal, check with yourself whether the meal was satisfactory for your palate, whether you should have eaten more or maybe less, how you feel (without judgment).
Whether you practice mindful eating or it’s a technique you’re just planning to perfect, try to approach the challenge without judging yourself. Maybe on the first try you manage to partially question yourself during the meal, but with practice you should soon see wonderful results and practice conscious eating in its full meaning. If you feel that you cannot define on your own why you feel a certain way after eating or you are dealing with a health condition, do not hesitate to ask for a consultation with a nutritionist or doctor. Remember, your body knows, but it also wants your head to notice!