Healthy Eating Decoded: What is mindful eating? When, what and how much you eat
Celebrity nutritionist and health coach, Ryan Fernando tells us how to eat consciously.
Think about the last time you really paid attention to what you were eating — did you truly savour the food? Often, we eat without putting any thought into it. It's almost like we're on an autopilot, gulping down every bite with our full attention on the TV screen, or another device. Mindful eating is about getting rid of those distractions and sitting uninterrupted with all your focus on the meal in front of you. The practice lets you take your time by eating at a slower pace so that you can really enjoy the flavours, aroma and textures.
For our series, Healthy Eating Decoded, we had a chat with Ryan Fernando, celebrity nutritionist and founder of Qua Nutrition Clinics, about how we can start being more mindful when it comes to our food habits and here's what he has to say:
Allow your body to catch up with the brain
"Slowing down is one of the most effective ways in which you can get your mind and body to communicate better. When you slow down, you give your body the chance to catch up with your brain. Your body instinctively knows what the right amount of food is", says Fernando. Simple ways to do this will include small changes, like sitting down to eat or chewing each bite 25 times.
Know your body's personal hunger signals
"Rather than just eating when you're emotional – whether it's stress, sadness, frustration, loneliness or even just boredom, you can take a minute and listen to your body. Is your stomach growling? Are you low on energy, are you feeling a little lightheaded? Take some time to read the signals your body is giving you," explains Fernando.
Cultivate a mindful kitchen
We've all eaten mindlessly at some point; wandering around our kitchens, looking through cabinets, picking up snacks at random, and eating at odd hours. "Having an organized kitchen encourages healthy eating," suggests Fernando. Consider what you bring into your kitchen and where you put things. Are the healthy snacks handy? What kind of food is most easily accessible? These are the things one should think about carefully.
Attend to your plate
"Multitasking whilst eating is a recipe for disaster. It disables you from being able to listen to your body's needs. When you are distracted, it becomes harder to watch out for those signals. With your next meal, try single-tasking and just eat, without screens or distractions," he advises.
You can begin to eat with more intention, satisfaction and purpose. Eating is a journey, not the end goal. Mindful eating is a more positive approach to the way we consume food. It not only gives you more dietary choices, but also, allows you to be more flexible with food portions. Just like us, we hope these tips have been helpful to you. And as they say, don't forget to treat yourself once in a while, too!
Have more questions? Watch Ryan Fernando from Qua Nutrition Clinic share his in-depth knowledge on mindful eating and more - it's all in there.