Dieting is a billion dollar industry. The U.S. weight loss market alone grew to $72.7 billion dollars in 2019 and is estimated to grow 2.6% annual until 2023. Growth continues because the industry fails to provide a long-term weight loss solution or health improvements. As health seekers continue to look for better solutions, the benefits of mindfulness eating are often appealing.
Mindfulness eating shifts your attention from what you eat to how you eat. While what you eat matters, learning how to eat leads to intuitive changes in your food choices as you become more aware of how food tastes and how you feel after you eat. Eating slowly, or mindfully, allows you to make better food choices instinctively because you’re more aware of what you’re eating as you tune in to your body.
Here are some of the benefits of mindfulness eating in more detail.
We spend most of life rushing from one thing to the other. As a result, we often eat meals on-the-go, generally resulting in poor quality food and overconsumption. Food is intended to be enjoyed and appreciated and this experience is missed when meals are rushed. Meals can be a time to reduce stress and provide a break in your otherwise hectic day. Mindfulness eating helps you notice the people and world around you as you disconnect from electronics and other distractions. With this renewed perspective, you can return to your day with more energy and a greater sense of calmness.
The majority of digestive issues that occur after a meal can be attributed to eating too fast. Your stomach needs time to absorb what it’s receiving and, by design, does so slowly. When the gastrointestinal system is greeted with an onslaught of food it is quickly overwhelmed. The benefits of mindfulness eating include the alleviation of many of the distress symptoms you may currently experience after you eat when your stomach is able to keep up with food intake.
Improves Quality of Food
Food choices are habitual. It’s common to choose many of the same foods each day without thinking about it. When you slow down you begin to notice how the food you’re eating tastes. You may find that your favorite fast-food meal doesn’t actually taste very good when you notice the flavor, texture, and scent. And you’ll begin to notice how you feel after eating certain foods – which ones make you sluggish and which ones give you energy. Your choices instinctively begin to align with the foods that taste good and make you feel good.
Decreases Quantity of Food
Rushing through meals disrupts natural communication within the body. The disconnection between the brain and the stomach results in lack of satiety (fullness). When food is eaten quickly, the human brain misses the signal that’s intended to provide satisfaction after a meal. This missed communication leads to consuming more food as yearns for this feeling. One of the additional benefits of mindfulness eating is the improvement in internal communication within your body, which leads to eating only until full and not beyond.
Freedom from Counting
Almost all diets require some form of counting or tracking. Whether you’re counting calories, macronutrients, or points, you are consumed with recording what you’ve eaten. Aside from the emotional toll this plays on your wellbeing, counting is an imprecise measurement that offers false promises for weight loss. Included in the benefits of mindfulness eating is freedom from the constant need for calculations. Eating mindfully removes the need to track and count as you learn what your body naturally needs and wants.
The benefits of mindfulness eating include reduced stress, improved digestion, improvements in the quality and quantity of food and freedom of choice. Eating mindfully is a proven alternative to dieting, with the byproduct being long-term, holistic wellbeing.