Don’t worry, we’ve all been there…inhaling our meals, eating during meetings, slurping liquids, etc. At some point, every person is a mindless eater, but the goal is to move more towards mindful, relaxed eating on a regular basis.
Now it may sound odd, but what if I told you that mindless eating itself can lead to anxiety. How? Well, if you’ve read some of my other blogs, you likely understand that there is a gut-brain connection, and poor gut health often leads to anxiety. Mindless eating leads to low stomach acid, low nutrient absorption, and an imbalance in gut bacteria. Follow that road for a period of time and you’re apt to deal with some health issues, anxiety being one of them.
On top of it all, if you’re eating in a rush or not relaxed state, your cortisol levels are likely to spike. When that happens, you can also experience anxiety. So, how do you eat mindfully in a relaxed state? Here are a few of my favorite tips:
How to eat mindfully
Sounds simple, but did you know you should be chewing each bite approximately 40+ times? I don’t care about counting how many times you chew each bite, but just make sure you are not swallowing chunks of food that your body can’t properly digest. Applesauce texture is my rule of thumb.
Ever tried eating with your opposite hand? For most of us, it’ll drastically slow us down and automatically puts you in a more relaxed state. This gives you time to adequately chew and take a nice breath in between bites.
Use your senses
Stop and smell the roses…or the steak. Too often we are preoccupied with other tasks, and don’t actually enjoy the process of eating. Smell the food, savor each bite, look at the colors, etc. Use those five senses you learned about in grade school to thoroughly enjoy each meal.
I’m not just talking about paying attention to what’s actually on your plate, but how you feel. Most of us (trust me, I’ve been there) are guilty of overeating. We are focused on other things, and tend to eat until we’re stuffed. The goal is to eat until you’re satisfied, not full. Because by the time you’re full, you’ve usually over eaten.
Put the beverage away
I don’t know why this is such a commonly misunderstood practice, but we should not be drinking with meals. A few sips here and there is totally fine, but anything more dilutes stomach acid. As I mentioned above, that’s not a good thing. When you dilute stomach acid, you’re not able to correctly break down amino acids (needed for mood and sleep) and other nutrients, leading to other health issues.
Where do you fall with this? I think most of us are guilty with some mindless eating, but now that you know these tips, start becoming a mindful eater 🙂 And, if you’re looking for some fabulous recipes, I’ve got a free 5 day meal plan RIGHT HERE.