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5 Benefits of Mindful Eating

5 Benefits of Mindful Eating

I have been researching mindfulness a lot as well as incorporating a variety of formal and informal mindfulness practices. What I have discovered is that mindfulness really works when it is used consistently. Formal practices include mindfulness meditation and various forms of yoga. Informal practice can include a multitude of daily actions that perhaps you mindlessly do every day such as brushing teeth, washing dishes, driving, and eating.

It is unfortunate that life passes by so many people without them realizing what happened; their minds are insistently focused on other things besides what is occurring right now. They fail to live in the present moment. Mindfulness helps you appreciate the present moment and flourish in it. It arms you with the ability to “be” in this moment as opposed to constantly feeling pressured to “do” in another one.

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This article will concentrate on mindful eating as one beneficial mindfulness practice. Eating is something you need to survive, but unfortunately for many people, it becomes an automated task. Without awareness poor eating habits can be created, which in turn, can cause a negative relationship to be formed with the food you eat. Mindful eating will shift your perspective about eating; instead of eating out of merely need and automation, you will begin to relish eating more and being grateful for the ability and opportunity to do so.

1. Enhances Senses

Mindful eating enhances all of your senses not just your taste buds. Mindful living is about engaging and observing your sensory experiences in the moment. Before you eat take the time to engage all of your senses. If possible observe what your food looks like. Notice the colors and patterns of the food you are about to consume. Touch your food and notice the various textures. Listen to your food to see if it makes any unusual sounds. For example, raisins make a crinkling noise when you put your ear up to them. Smell your food and notice how your salivary glands react to this sensation. Finally begin to eat and focus your attention on the sensations you experience while chewing your food slowly. Taking the time to stimulate all of yours senses might be something you take for granted anyway. Eating mindfully is an advantageous way to incorporate this into your field of awareness.

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As you practice mindful eating and learn how to enhance your sense, you will most likely notice a shift in how you live your life. Hopefully you will embrace the sense of freedom that allows you to live more presently and fully.

2. Savor the Flavor

I have been a major culprit in the past of inhaling my food and not enjoying the taste of it. This is especially apparent after exercise when my body is craving nourishment. I often don’t have the patience to eat slowly because my only objective is to fill up with as much food as quickly as possible. I don’t suggest utilizing this habit of eating. Eating is supposed to be a gratifying experience. How can you savor the food you are eating and truly taste it if you are concentrated on merely shoving as much as you can down your gullet? Chew slowly. Observe what the food feels like in your mouth. Put your fork, knife or spoon down from time to time while you are eating so you can be completely present with what you are doing.

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Also, if possible, refrain from watching T.V. or reading your phone or even talking. Place all of your attention on eating. I think you will notice that food has never tasted so delicious. When you place all of your awareness and attention on eating you begin to form a more appreciative relationship with the food you eat. It is not just about satisfying your desire to eat because you will start to feel grateful for what you are eating and the people who helped make that possible.

3. Eat Smaller Portions

Eating healthily is about eating the necessary sized portion. Many people overeat as a result of not paying attention to what they are eating and how much food they consume. They eat unconsciously not noticing how much they are consuming. By eating mindfully you will only eat until you have had your fill. You will begin to observe the feelings of being satisfied. You will know when you have had enough to eat because you are consciously paying attention to what you are doing. When you consume your food mindfully and slowly there is no need to stuff yourself. You will gain awareness of your bodily sensations and you will understand the signs of being sated more clearly.

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4. Live With a Healthy Weight

Mindful eating helps with portion control. Controlling your portions ensures you will eat only as much as your body requires. Many people eat as a coping mechanism for stress, depression, or grief. They eat even though they aren’t hungry. Eating mindfully helps you eat the right amount every time you consume food. If you are overweight, over time, portion control will help you lose unnecessary weight. As you continue to eat mindfully, you will be able to keep the weight off and live with a healthy and fulfilled body. Paying attention to the sensations from your body is vitally important. Only through mindful eating can you really gain a sense of being full. Your mind may try to convince you otherwise, but only your body will know if you have eaten enough or not.

5. Live Presently

So what is mindfulness really about? Why is eating mindfully so important and necessary to a happy existence? Practicing mindfulness becomes habitual. Just as your negative habits cause you to feel lousy at times, building beneficial habits can help your quality of life increase. Mindful eating is one merely one way you can invigorate your life with contentment and joy. You only experience this because you learn how to be in the present moment, disregarding the constant thoughts that arise about the past and the future.

As I stated previously, eating is something many people take for granted. You might eat but do you really enjoy the experience? How often do you eat without doing anything else? How often are you present with your food? Your well-being is dependent on your ability to be present with whatever you are doing. Practicing mindful eating promotes your ability to live in the moment. This is crucial because this is what life is all about! Enjoying the moment to moment experiences without giving validation to the judgments or negative thoughts swirling around in your mind. There are many mindfulness practices you can undertake that will assist in living more presently. I think eating mindfully is one the most effective practices you can learn. You probably won’t be able to eat every meal mindfully in the beginning, but with practice it will become easier and more enjoyable.

Featured photo credit: My Fitness Pal via 1y2u3hx8yml32svgcf0087imj-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com

More by this author

Mike Oppland

Mike is the Creator of Carpe Diem Motivation. He aspires to inspire individuals who are seeking a little extra boost in their lives.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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