"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Eat more? Mindfulness exercises might help.

We all experience moments of indulgence that result in overeating. If it happens on occasion, it's nothing to fret about. If this happens often, chances are you'll wonder if you may have an overeating problem or a “food addiction.” Before you are concerned, know that none of those are considered official medical diagnoses. In fact, the existence of food addiction is hotly debated.

Many people overeat unconsciously and don't know it until they've finished eating. This is where mindfulness exercises can make it easier to keep on with proper portion sizes.

But she urges you to hunt skilled help in case your thoughts about food are interfering together with your ability to operate every day. Your primary care doctor is a great place to start out.

What is mindful eating?

Mindfulness is the practice of being present within the moment, and observing the inputs to your senses. When eating: “Think about what the food looks like, what it tastes like, and what it smells like. What is its texture? What memories does it bring back? How does it make you feel?” Burton Murray asks.

By being mindful of eating, you'll decelerate the eating process, pay more attention to your body's hunger and fullness signals, and maybe avoid overeating.

“It forces you to make decisions about what you're eating, instead of taking a step back and going through the automatic process of eating,” says Burton Murray.

Set yourself up for fulfillment by being mindful if you eat:

  • Eliminate distractions. Turn off the phone, TV and computer. Eat in a peaceful, uncluttered space.
  • Pace yourself for a 20-minute meal. Chew your food slowly and put your fork down between bites.

More mindfulness exercises to try.

Practicing mindfulness if you're not eating strengthens your mindfulness “muscles.” Here are exercises to accomplish that.

  • Focused respiratory. “Breathe in and slowly exhale. With each breath, let your belly go out. With each breath, let your belly go in,” explains Burton Murray. “It engages the diaphragm, which is the nerve connection between the brain and the gut, and promotes relaxation.”
  • Progressive muscle rest. In this exercise, you tense and release one large muscle group at a time for 20 seconds. As you release the contraction, notice how the muscle feels to loosen up.
  • Take a mindful walk, even when it's only for five minutes. Burton Murray advises to “use your senses to take in your surroundings. “What colours are the leaves on the trees? Are there cracks in the bottom, and where are they? What does the air smell like? Do you are feeling the breeze in your skin?”
  • Practice yoga or tai chi. Both of those ancient martial arts practices involve deep respiratory and listening to body sensations.
  • Keep a journal. Write down the main points of your day. Try to have interaction your senses—the sights, sounds, and smells you've noticed, and the textures you've touched.

Don't worry about attempting to stay mindful all day. Start with a moment here and there and construct up slowly. The more mindful you're throughout the day, the more mindful you might be when eating. And chances are you'll find you can make higher decisions in regards to the food you eat.