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Do you have a love-hate relationship with food? Do you eat mindlessly even though you are hungry? Or do you simply don’t mind what is on your plate? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, relax! You are not alone. Eating is one of the greatest pleasures in life. But eating too much or not eating correctly can seriously affect your health. What if the key to changing your relationship with food is within you? Learn how a mindful mindset can radically transform your eating habits and improve your well-being. 

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” — Virginia Woolf 

Let’s start with the basics: understanding the connection between food and well-being. Did you know that your brain and your gastrointestinal tract share a close relationship? Indeed! The gastrointestinal tract houses billions of bacteria that affect the production of neurotransmitters, which are chemical substances that carry special messages (dopamine or serotonin) from the gut to the brain. Following a balanced diet ensures the growth of “good” bacteria. And these bacteria are vital for your health as they:

  • Provide protection against toxins and bad bacteria. 
  • Limit inflammation. 
  • Improve nutrient absorption from your food. 
  • Activate neural pathways that travel between the gut and brain. 

All of these actions help your brain receive positive messages that are reflected in your mood and emotions. 

The effects of a bad diet 

If you mostly eat junk food, chances are you will trigger inflammation and harm neurotransmitter production. Sugary foods, for example, feed bad bacteria to the gastrointestinal tract and cause inflammation. They might also trigger a spike in dopamine, known as “feel good” neurotransmitters. So is the case of the infamous “sugar rush” that commonly follows a drastic downfall that translates into bad moods. 

So what should you put on your plate to keep physically and mentally healthy? Scientists believe that diets that are high in vegetables, fruits, unprocessed grains, fish, and seafood and contain modest amounts of sugar, lean meat, and dairy are the most beneficial for your health. That’s the case with traditional Japanese and Mediterranean diets. Interestingly, studies show that the risk of depression is 25% to 35% lower in those who eat a traditional diet compared to those who follow the typical Western diet. 

Mindful eating is one of the best ways to boost your wellbeing!

Mindful eating: making peace with food 

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” — François de la Rochefoucauld

Now that you know more about the link between food and mental health and what sorts of foods are more beneficial, it’s time to embrace positive change. And yet, this is much easier said than done. Sometimes, even when we know which kinds of foods are better for us, keeping a healthy diet is extremely challenging. Why? Why indeed…In order to change your relationship with food, the first thing you should do is reflect on your eating habits. Before following a strict diet, hiring a personal chef, or buying a lose-weight-fast program, ask yourself a few questions:

Are there any physical, emotional, or environmental factors that trigger binge eating, overeating, or not eating? 

How does your body let you know when it’s hungry? Do you pay attention to these signs? 

Are you distracted whenever you eat? Where does your mind go during meal times?

Finding the answers to these questions will help you get to know yourself better. This is necessary because no action plan to improve health works without the right mindset. Before listening to what others have to say about nutrition, listen to your body. Paying close attention to your body’s many cues widens your understanding of yourself, giving you the kind of insight needed to change your behavior. 

This is what mindfulness is about. Mindfulness means paying close attention to the present moment. When you are mindful, you are not rushing, multitasking, or worrying about the past or future. Rather, you are calm and focused. Not only does mindfulness help you make better eating choices, but it also supports you in every other aspect of your life. 

Rethink your relationship with food through mindful eating.

Quick tips for mindful eating 

Consider your grocery list and be mindful of what you put in your shopping cart. No matter how tempting the sugary snacks or fatty foods are, remember that you are in control and have the ability to choose what is more beneficial for your health. 

At the table, try to be fully aware of what you are eating. Eat slowly and engage your senses focusing on flavors, textures, aromas, and colors. This will help you appreciate the food’s taste and enjoy the overall experience. And don’t forget to be kind and patient with yourself. Not everything goes according to plan and changing your eating habits might require time and effort. Instead of beating yourself up and reacting negatively to setbacks, respond with love and compassion.  

Finally, bear in mind that mindfulness is a skill you master through daily practice. Work on your mindful mindset by listening to the most immersive 3D sound meditations