Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Can Meditation Support You to Eat More Healthily?

Are you overweight or underweight?  Could you honestly put your hand on your heart and say that you have complete control of your eating habits? Most of us are guilty of over-eating whilst on autopilot or of eating when bored or stressed. Some of us see food as the enemy and become upset and negative around food.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could find a way to eat simply when hungry and to make healthy choices when deciding what to eat, without feeling deprived? Think about the people you know who meditate regularly. Would you say that the majority of them are a healthy weight, with a positive attitude to good nutrition? There just might be something in it. Research has shown that certain types of meditation can help us to control our emotional eating. There is also evidence that meditation can be helpful in treating binge eating disorder. So if you’ve tried every diet known to man and still have weight issues it might be that the answer lies in using meditation to help you change the way you think about food. 

Noticing what you eat

If you meditate regularly you are likely to find that your approach to food changes. You will begin to eat more consciously. Quite a few meditation courses include a session in which participants are asked to eat a piece of fruit or other food in a way which encourages full engagement with the experience. You might try this simple exercise at home. Take a small piece of simple food. Hold it and spend a few minutes looking at it like you’ve never seen that food before.  Notice any “imperfections.”  Explore the colour and feel of the food. Gently squeeze it. Does it make any sound? Now bring the food closer and smell it. How does it smell? Does the smell change? Finally take one small bite. How does the food feel on the tongue? What sensations do you experience in your mouth and the rest of your body? Now slowly bite the food. Close your eyes and experience the taste and texture of the food. Swallow and then pause to think about how your body feels before taking the next bite. 

Didn’t eating in that way change your experience of eating? You will most likely have felt more satisfied with what you ate than you would have if you’d eaten it without thinking while staring at your computer screen or watching TV. If you eat more consciously you are likely to eat less than when you eat on autopilot whilst doing other things. And here’s the good bit: every mouthful of food you eat will become more delicious and more satisfying. You are likely to feel full sooner.

Why might meditation help you approach food with the right attitude?

People who meditate regularly start to experience a range of positive changes in their daily lives. Meditators often find themselves starting to exercise better self-control in their approach to many aspects of their lives, including their eating habits. One of the most widely reported benefits of meditation is that meditation can cause changes in the brain which affect the way we perceive stress.  These changes are likely to help us control our emotional eating patterns.

How to get started

So if you’d like to give meditation a try, a good place to start might be to find some meditations which will give you a taste of how you might incorporate this wonderful healing practice into your life.

No comments: