The author is a Japanese Karate Champion with many experiences in exercise, diet, health and weight management. She shares useful tips here!
What you are is what you have been.
What you will be is what you do now.
— Gautama Buddha
Japanese Zen and Meditation
Japanese Zen means "to calm the mind and not to be upset". It is teaching originated from the Buddhist philosophy and aims to achieve "enlightenment" through daily training. Enlightenment is the realization of the Buddha-nature within oneself and to be free from all physical and mental obsessions. Discipline ourselves, be grateful for all substance, eliminate waste, and reevaluate our way of life. By gradually incorporating Zen into our daily lives, we can find the truth of our own existence. Zen is a free mind that does not interfere with anything on earth.
Meditation is one of the practices derived from Zen that seeks to control the mind. The purpose of meditation is to regulate and heal the body and mind. The number of people engaged in meditation has been dramatically increasing for a variety of reasons such as psychological treatment and personal growth. It also helps you improve health, lose weight and keep it off.
Mindfulness as a Mental Exercise
Mindfulness is a form of meditation developed in Western countries. It is originated from Japanese Zen and its definition is "the body condition filled with the mind." Through mindfulness, we become fully present, aware of where we are and what we are doing, without being over-reactive nor overwhelmed by our surroundings. By closing your eyes and breathing deeply, you can recognize your physical and emotional state. It is a mental exercise to increase self-control ability and is widely adopted in medical institutions, educational settings, business environments, and other fields as a stress management method.
What is Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is based on mindfulness and is often described as "eating meditation." It is not about taking your meal with your eyes closed but is about giving full attention to your dining experiences and concentrating on your act of eating.
People today are used to eating while looking at a computer or cell phone and don't have many opportunities to focus only on eating. If we are distracted by other things during your meal, we become desensitized to the happiness and satiety we get from taking foods. Besides, we will use our energy for something other than eating, and our digestion and absorption will not perform smoothly which leads to stress buildup and excessive calorie intake.
Eating while standing or lying down, eating fast, big, right before sleep, or while talking about negative things are all harmful to the body. Mindful eating corrects wrong eating habits in a healthy way.
3 Benefits of Mindful Eating
- Lose Weight and Keep It Off
- Increase Work Efficiency
- Reduce Stress
1. Lose Weight and Keep It Off
A study from Brown University found that "people who eat mindfully have less body fat." You can effectively lose weight by continuing your mindful eating and your body will become easier to lose weight and less likely to rebound weight gain as you improve your eating habits.
2. Increase Work Efficiency
Mindful eating pushes you to focus only on your eating and enhances the ability to concentrate on one task, thus, increases your work efficiency.
3. Reduce Stress
By improving your eating habits, you tend to avoid snacks and start to have an appetite when you are really hungry. Eating slowly and carefully will also relieve your stress.
5 Steps to Practice Mindful Eating
- Observing Food Using the Five Senses
- Eat Seasonal Ingredients
- Appreciate the Foods
- Spend Time to Eat
- Eat Only When You're Hungry
Step 1. Observing Food Using the Five Senses
The five basic senses of the human body are; sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Before you start eating, use the five senses to respect the food you are about to eat by touching it, looking at it closely to see the differences in color and shape, and smelling its aroma. Then, observe the changes that occur within your body, such as a swollen nose and increased appetite.
After the first bite, roll it around on your tongue and feel the texture, then chew it well before swallowing. Again, remember to pay attention to the movement of your teeth and throat. Taste each dish slowly as if you were carefully tasting a glass of wine.
Step 2. Eat Seasonal Ingredients
Choose seasonal foods if possible. By eating what you get at that time, you can feel that you are connected to the earth, and seasonal foods are always nutrition-rich and delicious. Close your eyes and imagine the land and sea where the foods were grown, the people who raised them, the sun and the rain.
Step 3. Appreciate the Food
Take a minute or two before meals to appreciate the food. You can say it out loud or in your heart. Strive to be grateful and happy so that your body will absorb the nutrition more easily.
Step 4. Spend Time to Eat
Eating slowly will prevent you from overeating and increase your satisfaction. If you have a habit of eating quickly, one way to slow down is to use chopsticks that you don’t usually use or to eat with your non-dominant hand. Stop all actions, sit down, and eat only. If you like talking with someone during your meal, it is a good idea as it will raise the enjoyment.
Step 5. Eat Only When You Are Hungry
The key to mindful eating is to eat only when you are really hungry. Even a little bit of fullness will keep you from appreciating food and focusing on eating. Make sure you feel hungry before you eat.
If you never experienced mindful eating, it will be a good start for you to follow the video exercises.
Mindful Eating for Health and Beauty
It can be difficult to incorporate a meditation habit into your life, but mindful eating is easy to get started and keep going because you can do it during your daily meal. It allows you to review the quantity and quality of your diet without painful restrictions. As you continue, it blends into your lifestyle and you begin to lose weight and keep it off naturally. Give it a try today and increase your health and beauty.
Work out your own salvation.
Do not depend on others.
— Gautama Buddha
- Everyday mindfulness linked to healthy glucose levels | Brown University
Brown University researchers investigating how mindfulness may affect cardiovascular health have measured a significant association between a high degree of ‘everyday’ mindfulness and a higher likelihood of having normal, healthy glucose levels.
- News Bureau, University of Missouri
Mindfulness Key to Eating What You Want While Preventing Overeating
- Frontiers | Personality and Social Psychology
Mindfulness as a Moderator in the Relation Between Income and Psychological Well-Being
- The National Center for Biotechnology Information | NIH
Coping with food cravings. Investigating the potential of a mindfulness-based intervention.
- Wiley Online Library
Mindfulness‐based interventions for obesity‐related eating behaviors: a literature review.
- Meditation and Neuroscience | Nippon.com
New Wave of Breakthroughs in Research on Meditative Practices
- Japanese Journal of Human Welfare Studies | Kwansei Gakuin University Repository
Toward "Mindfulness refined in Japan"