It’s not easy to be mindful.
We’re faced with a barrage of texts, push notifications, videos and Tweets every day, all vying for our attention.
There’s so much to take in and think about, it’s tough to slow down and focus on something as simple as breathing. Or the sound of the wind in the trees. Or the taste of the food you’re having for dinner.
Breaking free of the magnetic pull of the smartphone or television isn’t easy, but it’s worth the struggle.
Practicing mindfulness—keeping your attention on the present moment, your current experience—can help you feel peaceful. It also helps you focus on what you need and what you don’t.
Take food, for instance. Our brains signal to us that it’s time to eat in a variety of ways – time (it’s noon, lunchtime), a television commercial showing a luscious pizza dripping with melty cheese, seeing the logo for one of our favorite restaurants. Listening to other people talking about food can make us think about eating.
Sometimes it’s your own growling stomach that drives you. Or a particularly rough day that leaves you thinking about comfort food (or dessert).
There are two types of hunger, in fact.
We often end up overeating because of emotions or an environment that’s influencing us—or because the food we’re eating (hot fudge-smothered banana split?) tastes so good that we finish it all, even though we’re stuffed.
Mindful eating is a way to combat overeating. It takes some conscious effort at first. Do it enough and it’ll become your new routine.
This is how to bring mindfulness to the dinner table:
Pay attention to your external and internal experience, including:
Remember the BASICS of mindful eating:
It doesn’t hurt to practice everyday mindfulness along with mindful eating. Take time out to relax every day, focus on self-care and non-food rewards.
This blog is a recap of a seminar given June 13, 2018, part of ongoing patient education series sponsored by Endeavor Health Weight Management.
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