Some of you may know, yesterday I started Slimming World which I am over the moon about as it's about time I started to take control of my food choices to enable myself to have a happier and a healthier life (no more Dominos!) I have heard many amazing things about Slimming World as opposed to other 'diets' and you never go hungry so I am excited to get into this and will be posting weekly updates of my food and also my weight loss achievements. With this said today I have a guest post for you, about Mindful Eating from Vitalfootprint and the article is so helpful and a great read, so I hope you enjoy.


More and more people are becoming conscious consumers. We are moving away from an endless stream of ready meals and takeaway coffees towards a heightened sense of awareness about the origin, contents and quality of the food we eat. In a recent survey by Allegra Food service and The Sustainable Restaurant Association, 95% of respondents stated that they want a healthier lifestyle. In addition, 87% want the issue of food waste to be addressed and almost two-thirds want their food to be locally sourced. This goes to show that health and nutrition, responsible sourcing and sustainability are high on people’s list of priorities when it comes to the food they eat.



WHY SHOULD AN INDIVIDUAL OPT FOR CONSCIOUS, MINDFUL EATING? 
Conscious and mindful eating are not the same thing, but share similar principles. A conscious consumer wants to know where their food is coming from and rejects unnatural products. A mindful eater retrains their mind to consider the benefits of food as they consume it, leading to better diet choices. To get the most from your food, you can combine the two ideas and redefine the way you eat. By doing so, you can enjoy the following benefits:

- It can help prevent type 2 diabetes. In a study, fast eating was found to aid the development of type 2 diabetes. Mindful eating slows you down and makes you question your eating style.

 -It prevents binge eating. Conscious, mindful eating helps stop binge eating,  a habit that can lead to obesity — in its tracks.

-It helps avoid overeating in restaurants. Mindfulness from a consumer perspective can reduce feelings of guilt and bloating too.

-You’ll stay trim. Eating when you’re hungry — a key principle of mindful eating — helps you stay lean. Researchers in New Zealand studied 1,600 women and found that those who ate only when hungry were healthier than those who paid little attention to hunger cues.

 -It prevents dietary complications. If you avoid binge eating and select your food carefully, you’ll know where your food comes from and be able to recognise your own allergies. You can select healthy options that will leave you feeling satisfied and energised.

WHAT AM I EATING? 
 In an age of sensibility, individuals should be up to date with conscious trends so they can benefit from better eating habits. Try incorporating the following questions into your lifestyle: It is easy to eat food without considering what you’re putting into your body. In many cases, packaged and processed food is full of ingredients you’ve never heard of — most likely artificial. To get started: Begin by selecting food with less than five ingredients in it. This will limit the potential for unhealthy, unnatural additives. As you grow used to filtering out additives and unnatural ingredients, you can make a more permanent shift towards avoiding packaged meals entirely.


WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF THE FOOD?
Generally speaking, food that comes directly from nature is far healthier than processed food. While there is a wider argument surrounding the passing of energy in natural food, you can get by with a simple thought exercise — would you rather eat something that grows in the wild as part of a natural eco-system, or something that has been manually designed by humans and uses artificial ingredients? To get started: Visit local markets and fresh produce sections in supermarkets to gradually cut down and eliminate processed meals from your diet.



WHY ARE WE EATING IT? 
A big principle in mindful eating is to ask yourself why you’re eating. This helps identify food habits. Are you binging on a takeaway because you feel upset? Are you craving carbs after a hard workout, or shovelling spinach down your throat to preserve that post-exercise happiness? Eating as an event is another issue for most individuals. For example, arranging to meet a friend usually involves dining out. When you’re eating, try to consider the purpose of the meal. There’s nothing wrong with eating for pleasure but try to limit the bad stuff. To get started: Assess your hunger levels before you eat. Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10, where 1 means you’re not hungry at all and 10 means you’re full. If you’re less than a five, you’re probably eating for a reason other than hunger. A food diary is a great way to keep track of how you feel before you eat too.

HOW WILL EATING MAKE ME FEEL? 
 Mindful and conscious eating is largely a mental activity. Before you eat, you should consider how the food is going to make you feel. Be realistic — will sugary foods provide a quick boost before making you feel guilty, sluggish and bloated? If you’re honest with this question, you can avoid many poor food choices. This is also a good way to discover food allergies, as you’ll be able to identify which food makes you feel unwell. To get started: Keep track of how food makes you feel. Note down any feelings you have after eating and consult your notes before you next eat. You can then work with a doctor or dietician to eliminate the foods that are harming you. The above questions are simply starting points for slowing down your eating habits. If you can answer these with integrity, you’ve taken the first step to practicing mindful and healthy eating habits. Prepare your food mindfully and you’ll be eating better than ever before without resorting to restrictive diets.