When almost a millennium ago Sigmund Freud talked about personality, even he wouldn’t have imagined that it would evolve to include terms like minimalist and foodie among others. But, just as humans evolved so did psychology. Especially the dynamics of food have changed radically. When Abraham Maslow gave us the hierarchy of needs, he placed Physiological needs first which included food, then came the Safety needs, then Social like belongingness and love, then Esteem and finally Self-actualization. But, today food is no longer just a means to nourish body like in his pyramid, rather it has seeped its way into all realms. It provides nourishment, but we use it as a stepping stone to social needs, the comfort food to feel better, we eat even as a time-pass. We gorge on diet chips as snacking and then consider it innocent enough, thanks to words like trans-fat free and others.
Even though so much of our time goes with food involved one way or another, how much of attention do we really pay to it? Honestly not much. This new-found knowledge had me delving into the concept of mindful eating, which I am gladly sharing with you.
Mindful eating is the practice of making conscious aware choices in regards to food. This as a process entails understanding your body needs for food, eating for physical well-being, and not to satisfy cravings. It puts a stop on mindless binging by continuously being aware of what you are eating, why you are eating, and understanding and appreciating what food does for you. In a nutshell, all your subconscious processing of your food and subsequent actions are brought forward to the conscious stage of your brain. This puts you back in touch with your body cues and satiety is welcomed. It requires eating with full awareness and focuses as well, so in a way, it brings back the flavor of food. Because in reality beyond the first few bites, we all are multitasking while eating, and our distracted brain hardly registers the taste.
Now there are courses and retreats where they follow it religiously and in that environment, it probably is easier to, however in our busy-bee lives here are a few steps to incorporate this revolutionary concept:
- Eat Slowly: We all know our brain needs more time to process whether the body is full or not, so take your time when eating. You don’t want to overeat.
- When you are about to eat, stop and think why you are eating, is it because you are really hungry or is it just an emotional grub. Your body gives you cues like stomach growling, feeling light-headed, demanding meals. But if not you want to consider the need to eat, and how eating (specific item) will make you feel
- Do not multitask, we work so hard for food, so sit and enjoy your hard-earned meals. Best to eat on set times with good company. It will take care of your social need while making the meal more enjoyable, lasting longer achieving the satiety timeframe.
- What you eat, is always crucial, so pay attention to that, generally, the comfort food makes you limited and often spells unhealthy, keeping you locked up.
- We used to offer thanks for our food, that gratitude is still necessary. Think of all the effort behind your meal, it will make you feel connected to the world at large.
This mindfulness when practiced will make you healthy, happy and content. So why not put some thought for food starting one meal at a time.