Focus on Your Digestion with Mindful Eating

Advocates of ‘mindful eating’ would say that many people have forgotten how to eat properly. They would say also that there are too many distractions at meal times and the modern tendency to ‘graze’ on packaged and fast food is leading to an obesity and diabetes epidemic. It is hard to argue against this common sense diagnosis when we see; commuters eating one-handed, coffee and donuts, while in traffic at breakfast time, or TV’s taking our minds to issues and countries far from our digestion system at dinner time. Mindful eating has a solid basis in science too.

A good definition of mindful eating is ‘paying attention to all aspects of the things you eat and the cues your body gives you as you eat’. It is definitely counter-cultural in America today with our fast food, convenience shopping, multi food miles and marketing mad society. However, the benefits of removing all distractions to focus on meals and listening to your inner gut feelings as you eat, could bring you substantial lifelong benefits such as…

A lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Fast eating is a symptom of unmindful eating. Fast eating is also a high risk factor for type 2 diabetes. This is proven in a recent study published in the journal ‘Clinical Nutrition’. Fast eating is definitely correlated with the conditions of overweight and obesity. time how long it takes you to eat a normal meal. Consciously set yourself a longer target time and chew more often between forks full. You will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly your body tells you, ’enough is enough’.

A lower body weight, body mass index and avoidance of obesity in children. Binge eating can be a problem for all ages and a bad patterns set in childhood can lead to a lifetime of other problems. A report published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology concluded that parents trained in mindful eating ideas, for example only eating when you are hungry and listening to you body when it knows it is full, helps their 8 to 12 year olds avoid the binge eating vicious cycle.

[box type=”note”]Reduce excess snacking between meals. Many people distract themselves from eating at breakfast, lunch and dinner, with TV, a newspaper or some urgent work task. However 2 studies from Appetite found that when lunch-eaters focused on their food alone they significantly cut down their snacking.[/box]

Save money and eat less even when dining out. Americans spend around 4 out of every 10 of their food dollars on eating out. Because meals in restaurants generally tend to be the high calorie count ones, this is one of the main factors in the spreading of our national waistlines. Nutritionists advise us to cook more often at home, but mindful eating out has been shown to help people restrict their calorie intake while still enjoying the dining out experience.

If you only eat when you really feel hunger you not only appreciate your meals more you actually keep your body weight within healthy bounds. Nutritionists in New Zealand surveyed 1600, 40-something women and found those who ate only in response to hunger were much more likely to be at a healthy weight.

Claire Al-Aufi

Claire Al-Aufi is a contributing author for Hive Health Media who provides updates on health and fitness news.

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