Eat with awareness

There is no menu to follow. Mindful eating is about how and why you eat and less about what you eat. When you are closely in touch with your eating, you know the exact moment you are satisfied.

"To understand why, what, when and how we eat, we have to be compassionate and non-judgmental. This allows us to take a closer look at our behaviour,"says Sveta Bhassin, Mumbai-based dietician and nutrition consultant. She adds, "A human brain consumes a lot of energy to do the daily mental activities. This energy comes from carbohydrates in its simplest form - glucose, which is supplied by the food we eat or from the glycogen stored in our body. Glucose is also supplied from the proteins stored in the muscles."Most of us give in to binge eating during stress. In such situations, stress hormones are released in our body, which protect our organ systems from any kind of damage, but create a phenomenal demand on the energy stores of our body. This leads to a drop in the blood sugar level, followed by a sudden craving to eat something that will give pleasure.

The so-called 'binge eating' or 'sugar cravings' or 'the sweet tooth getting active' triggers off from this point.

Is it possible to live a stress-free life? No, but busting out the ill-effects of stress is possible. Yoga, meditation and deep breathing exercises balance the stress hormones (cortisols). Eating small, frequent meals, which are full of good quality proteins and carbohydrates, ensure a constant flow of sugar to the brain and minimise drop in the blood sugar levels.

If you eat in haste, while standing, watching TV, chatting on the Internet or mentally preoccupied with something, you reduce the satiety value of food. The colour, texture, flavour, taste and appearance of foods can impart a sense of satisfaction and contentment. Even a simple yet balanced meal gives the pleasure of the most exotic-looking food laid out.

The scientific knowledge of different nutrients and their functions is also important. This awareness makes you involved in your eating habits.

Get the most from your meal

Eat slowly. Learn to savour your food. You may have skipped your meals earlier but no more! Regular meals are a must. Big isn't necessarily better when it comes to portion sizes. Smaller meals eaten through the day are better than three large meals. Neither stuff nor starve. Eat slowly allowing your stomach to signal when it's had enough. Eat more during the day and less at night to compensate for the drop in metabolism. Fat-free isn't necessarily healthy. It will still get stored as fat if you overeat. It's okay to indulge sometimes. A piece of cake, a scoop of ice-cream will make you a happy person.

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