RE-EVALUATE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD

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Here’s what you need to know about mindful eating
The next time you absentmindedly reach out for that slice of pizza, pause and give it a thought. Are you eating because you’re hungry? Or are you tempted to eat the pizza because you’re bored or stressed? Senior nutritionist Carlyne Remedios says that in our constant battle against time, trying to meet deadlines, and keeping up with domestic and professional commitments, we tend to forget the simple pleasures of life. “One of those are enjoying our food.But we are so obsessed with what to eat, and what not to eat that we rarely stop and think how we are eating. That is precisely what mindful eating is all about. Simply put, it is using all our senses to choose and eat food, which will help us satisfy our physical cues (our body’s signal for hunger) rather than our emotional cues (comfort eating). This way we learn to appreciate different flavours and aromas of food rather than simply wolfing it down to fill our stomach.“ she explains.Adds consultant integral psyche therapist Dr Sonera Jhaveri, “From a biological perspective, our bodies need the right type of food to function properly as diseases and compromised health conditions have been scientifically linked with malnutrition.Understanding how we eat, when we eat and why we eat is necessary to correct our unsta ble relationship to food. Today , satisfying hunger in urban metropolitan areas has become increasingly easier due to the 247 accessibility we have to food. We eat sugary , fatty, fried and salty foods not to fill our stomachs only , but to help us deal with stress and assuage other disturbing emotions such as depression, loneliness, boredom, anxiety and anger,“ she says.MINDLESS EATING VS CONSCIOUS EATING

Eating in a fast paced, hyper stimulated and highly pressured world, becomes a coping mechanism to face the numerous demands made on us on a daily basis. Have you ever sat in front the TV or in the cinema hall with a tub of popcorn and ploughed through the whole thing in the course of the film? Or been at a cocktail party , sipping a drink and chatting with a friend while devouring bowls of nuts and chips? Or polished off a whole bar of chocolate while sitting in front of your computer trying to meet deadlines? In such instances, people don’t realise how much or how quickly we eat. This is called mindless eating.

“An antidote to this would be to mindfully observe and understand our experience of hunger and our relationship to food. By being `mindful,’ one pays attention to the moments when and why one wants to eat, the food one eats and the act of one’s eating without being judgmental. By being , focussed on how we feed our selves, we can aid a more s sophisticated self awareness r of ourselves and our sublimie nal desires and drives that , motivate us to eat as well t enable a balanced relationship o to food and body size. The read sons why we overeat, starve, grow fat, become skinny , anorexic, bulimic or obese d have a lot to do with how we are psycho-emotionally pro cessing our sense of self and the stresses we encounter.Hence, it is imperative to pay attention to the emotional states behind one’s eating habits and working with them if they are disturbed,“ explains Dr Jhaveri.

SIMPLE TIPS FOR MINDFUL EATING

“By practising the below mentioned tips regularly, one will be able to eventually establish a new relationship with food. You will realise that there is no need to beat yourself if you indulge in that piece of cake because if you eat mindfully , you will satisfy your tastebuds and won’t go through the entire slice. Don’t stress your self into trying everything at one time. Try one thing at a time and practice it with dif, ferent foods and encourage , your family to practice it as well. In time, you will notice that you don’t need crash diets to be healthy and keep the weight off, says Remedios.

Eat slowly and chew your food well. Learn to recognise the feeling of fullness so that you eat less. Remember, it takes at least 20 minutes for the sig nal to reach from your stomach to your brain to say it’s full, so give yourself time between each mouthful.

Put your fork spoon down between each bite. This will help you to complete one bite at a time.

If you are eating avoid watch ing television or eating on your worktable or talking on the phone. Concentrate on one thing at a time.

Learn to appreciate the dif ferent flavours and texture of . the food by savouring each bite.

Pay attention to the crunchi ness of an apple or carrot, the smooth texture of yoghurt or the tartness of a lemon.

Think before you eat -ask yourself if you are really hun gry or are you eating out of stress?
Put inspirational lines on your refrigerator, pantry door or kitchen cabinet to help you stop and think before reaching . out for food.

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TRAIN YOUR MIND

Nutritionist Karishma Chawla says that one needs to understand that everything is a mind game. “When you succumb into unhealthy foods on the grounds of things not going your way, it is a lack of acceptance and confidence in oneself.Such behaviour will soon translate into addiction and reflect in blood chemistry and can lead to obesity and metabolic syndrome diseases. Before you consume any food or beverage, ask yourself, is it going to help me achieve my health, fitness, and performance goals or detract from them. Your motto should be to eat with a purpose and not foolishly,“ she says.

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