Conscious eating is an effective alternative to messy, restrictive food habits and mindless eating rituals. Consuming consciously means utilizing awareness, knowledge, and power to direct you when, how, and what to eat. Conscious eating also includes learning to respond to and understand your body’s signals of fullness and hunger, adding accurate and reliable nutritional information to your everyday eating experience.
People who practice mindful eating often feel that they control their bodies and their eating experience. They also tend to eat healthier and feel better about themselves because they are no longer constantly hungry or depressed. Being a conscious eater means that the food you consume is more of a pleasure and less of a chore or stress reliever. As a result of planning your meals and recipes, you can eat healthily and still enjoy the occasional dessert – it is all about knowing how to make healthy food taste good!
How can you maintain conscious eating habits?
The first step towards conscious eating is noticing all the ingredients in your favourite foods. You want to know what they are. Many people skip this step and assume that all pre-packaged foods are equally tasty, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Pre-packaged foods often use preservatives and other chemicals to make them taste delicious. While it may be pleasant to consume these types of foods, you have to pay attention to the chemicals and unnatural flavours disguised within those packages. If you’re aware of these details, you’ll find it much easier to avoid overeating and other bad habits that come with unhealthy food.
The next step to conscious eating is paying attention to the amounts of food you consume throughout the day. If you find yourself snacking throughout the day, you need to examine how you’re going to change your habits. Are you craving carbohydrates after a long day at work? You may want to increase the amount of vegetables and lean protein that you consume before lunch. When you’re mindful of the amount of food you are eating, you’ll be much more likely to stay conscious of portion sizes and avoid overeating.
Finally, you can start becoming aware of the times of day that you consume certain foods. If you find that you eat more meals in the evening than during the day, for example, you may want to examine whether you are consciously or unconsciously making this decision. It’s essential to pay attention to what you are doing when consuming certain foods since you might be making it a habit. As you begin to recognize when you are using habitual thought patterns to determine when to eat, you can quickly start changing these behaviours and become more conscious of the impact you are making on your health and weight.
For conscious eating to work, you need to start being aware of what you are consuming. By paying attention to your behaviours, you can quickly change how you think about food and even begin to change the types of foods you eat more often actively. When you become aware of the foods you consume, and why you are consuming them, you can change your patterns. Then, as you continue to use these changes as an opportunity to evaluate your diet and improve your eating habits, you can stop eating foods that are causing you to gain weight or that are causing you to experience hunger sensations.
What makes the unconscious eating habits?
When we’re in a stressful situation, we can easily slip into the unconscious “eating for survival” or engaging in habitual behaviours for comfort. For example, if I’m stressed at work, I might eat before I go to bed instead of getting a whole night’s sleep. If I’m home alone, I might eat a big meal (or two) late in the evening, instead of relaxing and doing some physical activities. And when I’m feeling “stuck” or have low self-esteem, I might engage in compulsive eating to feel good about myself.
However, the reality is that conscious eating isn’t always healthy. By changing your habits and becoming aware of your emotions, you can realize the negative consequences of compulsive eating. Consciously eating in response to stress, anxiety, loneliness, sadness, frustration or other negative emotions, while potentially healthy, can contribute to unhealthy behaviours, such as binge eating, weight gain, depression, lack of energy, poor digestion, constipation, bloating, etc.!
How is hunger triggered your conscious eating habits?
Hunger is triggered by several factors, including hormones, brain activity, cognitive processing and eating habits. People prone to eating disorders generally experience patterns of behaviour that include habitual eating around certain foods, followed by feelings of guilt or shame. As you eat, you may feel conscious about what you’re doing. This can lead to behaviour that’s not healthy. A diet for food addiction incorporates awareness of the hunger cues and the positive effect these triggers have on your physical and emotional health.
Eating healthy meals that give you a feeling of satisfaction and well-being may seem difficult at first. However, if you learn to consciously choose your healthy meals and make healthy choices around food choices, you’ll begin to enjoy good food choices and feel happier. Once you develop a new, healthy relationship with food and you begin to take responsibility for your eating behaviour, you can take this relationship and create a lifestyle that allows you to enjoy good food choices and have fun, too. After all, isn’t that really what we all want?
The main thing to remember is that conscious eating is just part of the solution. You also need to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself by getting plenty of exercise, avoiding alcohol, smoking and other habits that put undue stress on your body. Once you take care of these external factors, you’ll find that conscious eating becomes easier to do and more enjoyable. Eventually, it will become an empowering part of your life – one that helps you maintain good health and gives you the happiness that comes from knowing that you can control your life.