How to apply Mindful Eating in your life?

Most people live thinking about the negative things that have happened to them or worrying about all the bad things that can happen.

In situations like this, the mind forgets the present and wanders between the past and the future. Therefore, through mindfulness, psychotherapy professionals aim for people to be able to live their lives lived in their present and with their full attention.

    Understanding Mindfulness

    The official Spanish translation of Mindfulness is “Atención Plena”. And what is Mindfulness?

    The practice of mindfulness is to paying attention to one thing, in a sustained way over time and without being judgmental. The goal here is not to leave your mind empty, because the more you try to do it, the more complicated it will be, but to focus your attention on the present moment.

    If you give your mind something to look at, like your own breath, you are training your mind to redirect your thoughts and attention where you want them. When we pay attention to a thing, the mind calms down and brings us to a state of greater tranquility.

    Meditation is not easy; we are used to the famous multitasking (doing several tasks at the same time) and when we try to focus on one thing our mind starts to wander: we are assailed by worries, negative thoughts, limiting beliefs, etc.

    In mindfulness workshops, it is common for patients to get frustrated at not being able to stay in the present and get carried away by their distractions. However, It is very important not to go through the process of impatience, judgment and frustration.

    After understanding these basic mindfulness concepts, we can introduce the concept of mindful eating.

      What is Mindful Eating?

      Living life from Mindfulness does not only apply to the moment of meditation as such. You can watch a series, take a walk and even eat Mindfulness.

      Mindful eating involves eating with awareness of the taste and smell of food, paying attention to signs of fullness and be connected to the emotions we experience in the present.

      Here is the concept of emotional hunger. How to differentiate emotional hunger from physiological hunger?

      Emotional hunger appears suddenly, not gradually, and when this happens, we usually crave sweeter or higher calorie foods. We usually start eating for a specific emotion (anger, sadness, boredom, etc.) and feel some relief when we eat.

      However, this relief only lasts a few seconds. Then comes the initial emotion for which we begin to eat, and this time perhaps with more force, because the guilt is added to it.

      If we go to food to calm an emotion, the most dangerous thing is not to gain weight, it is to ignore an emotional need which is not supported. Emotional hunger comes into our lives to scream at us. This may be due to a lack of self-care, poor management of stress at work, or problems in interpersonal relationships. However, if we eat instead of meeting our real needs, emotional hunger will scream louder.

      I always expose this metaphor to my patients: eating to, for example, soothe sadness is like scratching a mosquito bite. For the moment it relieves, but in the long run it is worse.

        The HEVA technique

        One of the most used techniques in psychonutrition sessions is the HEVA technique. Want to put it into practice?

        During this week, I want answer the following questions at each meal and dinner.

        H of hunger

        From or up to 10, write down the answer to this question: What is your actual hunger level?

        And emotion

        Do you think you are calming down or have you tried? calm a certain emotion with this contribution?

          V-speed

          How fast or slowly do you eat? If we eat too quickly, we often don’t notice that we are full.. If you wait a few minutes, you will have the opportunity to check if you really need to eat more or if, on the contrary, you already feel completely full.

          That of attention, Full Attention

          Where do you focus your attention? It is essential that when we eat we avoid the famous multitasking.

          Watching TV, working, studying or doing any other activity while eating means that we are not focusing on food. This is precisely what invites you to eat more quickly, to not appreciate the taste of food and can therefore facilitate binge eating or food compulsions.

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