Food is around us, everywhere and at any time. It is the kind of friend who is always there for you when you’re stressed, down, or bored. But every good relationship necessitates mutual respect, care, and proper connection. Ever wondered why we eat?
Why do people eat? Is it a need or a want?
It is impossible to compare ourselves to our old ancestors who were insecure, fighting for their presence and going days without food. Once the food was found, they will eat to restore their energy. Most probably, in my opinion, ancestors did not have enough fuel/ calories, if you want to call it. Our days are different; in modern communities, you are hungry, hit the fridge or the supermarket, or even better, your mobile to order quickly. But is that hunger?
Our senses play a significant role in our daily decisions; Passing by a coke advertisement, smelling that freshly baked Cinnabon, even if you just finished breakfast, make you want it.
What about external social cues? That call from your best friend after she broke up with her boyfriend, so you need to prepare the survival kit; Ice cream, choco-chips cookies, and a box of tissue papers.
We tend to want food because it is a cure for many of our discomforts, treating our stress, socializing, and fighting boredom. But if we love food that much, we better respect it and work on our relationship.
What is mindful eating
Indeed it is not a diet; mindful eating is bringing your conscious awareness to that plate and practicing removing any distraction that is causing you to eat mindlessly.
“Don’t Chew your worries, your fear, or your anger. If you chew your planning and your anxiety, it is difficult to feel grateful for each piece of food. Just chew that food” .
Thich Naht Hanh
Who is Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Nhat Hanh is a spiritual leader, peace activist, and poet. He is globally known for his powerful teachings on mindfulness, global ethics, and peace. He has published many books that address mindfulness, “How to eat” and “Savor” are two excellent books I recommend reading.
Top 5 tips I learned from Thich Nhat Hanh
Eat Slowly: Dedicate time, find a place to eat, and pay attention to the food . Slowing down the chewing helps you notice the flavors, texture, and smell. Not only our body needs twenty minutes to signal fullness ( thanks to the brain/gut message exchange), but by eating slowly, you will notice your genuine connection with that food. Give it a try; you will be surprised.
Cook your food: I understand too many believe they cannot; they hate the kitchen or do not know-how.
Cooking is simple once you recognize it as an act of self-care. You do not need expensive utensils to chop a salad or make a warm soup.
Choose: once you know that eating food is self-care, know the source of your food. Is it healthy? Fresh? Does it come from a sustainable source? Am I helping local businesses? Choosing what you eat is exactly the right prescription for your happy health.
Listen to your body: Eat and observe; we are wired and programmed to eat specific times and specific food that socially connects us to our surroundings. You will be surprised by the countless unmindful decisions we take. When you eat, listen to your body; is my body satisfied? Is that why your body wants?
Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude: if only food can talk, it will reveal how many times we abused it! It will take one minute to stop and appreciate that dish full of nourishing ingredients, thanking at heart how it reached your plate.
Following a depriving diet will not fight the extra weight. Undoing your eating habits and embracing mindful eating will fix your relationship with food. Only then can change happen, and the benefits will be countless, not only the number on the scale.
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