Technology and the conveniences of modern life have distanced us from our bodies and the physical world in many ways. One of the most profound ways is in our relationships with food. Western people trying to wake up from this disconnect are increasingly embracing mindfulness meditation as a way to have more awareness. But, how can mindfulness reorient your relationship with food and make you healthier?
What Exactly Is Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness meditation is a systematic set of practices that are designed to train us to see and experience the naked reality of the world inside and around us. In the book “The Joy of Living‘ world-renowned Buddhist teacher Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche invites us to join him in unlocking the secrets to finding joy and contentment in the everyday. Using the basic meditation practices he provides, we can discover paths through our problems.
The practice of mindfulness meditation involves turning your awareness inward to the sensations of the body. Your attention is typically centered on the breath moving through your abdomen or passing through your nose until enough concentration is gathered that you become aware of subtle sensations happening all over your body. The meditator slowly extends that consciousness outward while experiencing these bare sensations without judgment, aversion or attachment. Distracting thoughts are allowed to pass, and your concentration is repeatedly brought back to the pure awareness of the breath and body.
What is Mindful Eating?
When you start to learn about mindfulness meditation and get firmly grounded in that practice, it’s all but inevitable that those practices will begin to migrate from your meditation cushion into every aspect of your life, including your relationships with people and even your outlook toward food. Your eating habits and your relationship with food are some of the most fundamental ways that you relate to the world around you.
Fitness trainer Aimee Buchler says, “Mindful eating is a way of learning to raise your own awareness in the present moment. When you eat mindfully, you begin to not only appreciate food more, but notice different flavours and textures of foods, the way these foods make you feel mentally and physically, and you begin to become aware of how you react to them and how they affect your energy levels.” In short, mindful eating is the extension of the practice of mindfulness integrated into the way that you eat and your relationship with food.
How Does Mindful Eating Change Your Relationship With Food?
The practice of mindfulness can radically change the way that you live. Many of us are used to rushing from each activity of the day barely aware of our surroundings as our minds play out an endless internal dialogue. Our thoughts tend to replay the regrets of our recent past and fantasize about the possibilities of the near future all while neglecting the experiences of the present moment. As we turn our thoughts to the present, it can have a significant impact on how we relate to our food.
Matt Valentine of Buddhaimonia says, “The practice of mindful eating can shine a light on our habitual patterns connected with eating and food itself. And in doing so, we can relieve much of the suffering we experience connected with the food on our plate.”
Many people are accustomed to eating mechanically while barely tasting their food or being aware of what it really is. Mindful eating helps you to appreciate food more as you turn your concentration to the sensations of eating. You will begin to notice nuances in the flavors and textures of your food that you never noticed before. This will enhance your enjoyment and appreciation of the work that went into preparing it.
Can Mindful Eating Help You Lose Weight?
As you learn to experience the sensations in your body in a more aware way, you might find that your habits begin to change to accommodate your enhanced level of awareness. For example, because you are concentrating on the taste of your food, you might notice that you begin to eat more slowly. Many studies show that eating quickly is linked to overeating and obesity. As you become more mindful while you eat and during the rest of your day, you will start to see the way that food affects you on many levels, and you may soon begin to choose food that leaves you feeling lighter and more alert.
The link between mindful eating and your emotions cannot be ignored. Many mindful eaters begin to experience an awareness of the suffering that may be caused by their dietary choices. It’s not uncommon for people to experience an ethical revolution that reflects this deepening concern.
Mindfulness Has the Power to Change Your Life
It’s difficult to get a sense of your relationship with food when you are so often served a completed dish where you have no part in the preparation, manufacturing or harvesting process. Embracing mindful eating can be a way to rebuild that lost relationship and create a deeper sense of connection to the world around you. It can even help you to radically change your eating habits and make you happier and healthier than ever.
If you want to improve your relationship with food and learn effective ways of losing weight, check out more of our blog articles for helpful tips! Don’t forget to stock up on detox teas, juice, and more from our shop!