Mindful Eating: Techniques & Benefits for Seniors
Mindful eating is an excellent way to gain control over your eating habits. It helps you become aware of the nurturing properties of the food that you consume and appreciate the experience more. By practicing mindful eating, you will learn to use your senses and understand how your body responds to the food you like, dislike, or are indifferent to. Read on to find out what the specialists from our Hartford retirement community and independent living facility have to say about mindful eating for seniors.
Mindful Eating Vs. Dieting
According to nutritionists and experts, mindful eating is not just about fats, proteins, carbohydrates, or counting calories. It is also different than following a diet. Diets tend to focus on the rules of having meals, including what you should eat, which foods to avoid, when to consume them, and the portion size. They are typically outcome-driven, often with goals like lowering cholesterol, weight loss, improving blood glucose level, and more.
Mindful eating for seniors is more process-oriented. This approach can help you remove distractions, be more aware of what you are consuming, and help you enjoy the experience. It is a great way to avoid overeating by reading the cues from your body.
Understanding If You’re Eating in a Distracted Way
Most seniors do not realize the importance of focusing entirely on their food during meals. An easy and effective trick to tell if you are distracted when eating is to recall what you had for your last meal and think of the details such as the taste of the food, aroma, and texture. If you find it difficult to remember, you may be distracted while you eat.
Our nutritionists recommend the following to help you focus more when having meals:
- Turn off the television when eating food
- Sit down and be relaxed when you eat
- Don’t focus too much on portion sizes
- Do not worry about the number of times you chew your food
Doing so can help you eliminate mindless eating, become more aware of the food you have, and realize how it affects your mind and body.
Also Read: Nutritional Needs Change As We Age
Reasons to Try Mindful Eating in Your Senior Years
Treat Common Unhealthy Eating Behaviors
- Emotional eating – Consuming food as a response to emotional stress.
- Binge eating – Similar to emotional eating but refers to eating large amounts of food in a short time without control. Often triggered by emotions.
- External eating – Consuming food in response to environmental cues associated with food, such as seeing or smelling something.
Practicing mindful eating allows you to develop the skills required to cope with these impulses. It helps you control your responses and avoid acting at the whim of your instinct.
Mindful Eating for Seniors and Weight Loss
Research shows that most weight loss programs do not work in the long term because people tend to lose focus. Because of this, many individuals return to their original weight or exceed it within a few years. However, studies indicate that mindful eating helps you lose weight by decreasing stress and changing your eating habits. By altering the way you think about food, you can become more aware of what you eat, develop positive emotions about eating, and improve your self-control. It also allows you to address your unwanted eating behaviors, helping with long-term weight loss.
Practicing Mindful Eating
The experts in our retirement homes know that eating mindfully requires dedication to change your behavior. Here are a few tips to help you:
- Avoid Judging the Food or Yourself
It is best to set aside past experiences and try not to be too harsh on yourself. Have a steady mindset and be committed to the process.
- Be Patient
Do not rush through your meals by taking large bites. Instead, concentrate on each bite you take. Doing so can make the experience more enjoyable and allow you to focus on what and how you eat.
- Get a Fresh Perspective
Don’t let any past opinions about food or eating cloud your mind. Instead, be sure to taste and feel the textures of what is on your plate, look at your food, and smell it. This will help you realize what it means to be in the present when having meals.
- Trust Yourself
It is likely that you won’t have the same experience with food every time, and it will be different from what someone else experiences. Notice how you react to various foods and how they make you feel when practicing mindful eating.
- Do Not Have Unrealistic Expectations
Eating mindfully does not have a specific, measurable outcome. It is beneficial to be more aware of what you eat to have a healthy lifestyle.
- Find Acceptance and Be Positive
Be open to new experiences, including positive and challenging ones. It is wise to stop eating when you are full and trust the signs your body gives.
Enjoy Independent Living at Our Hartford Retirement Homes
At The Holiday Retirement, we are committed to ensuring our residents are comfortable and enjoying themselves. Our team of qualified and friendly staff care about your needs and make sure you are safe and happy. Our independent living facility offers a warm and welcoming environment, just like your home, where you can maintain your independent lifestyle. We will treat you with the respect and love you deserve and provide you with all amenities you need.
We place the utmost importance on nutrition and ensure you have a wonderful dining experience at our Hartford retirement home. Our home-cooked meals are nutritious, tasty, and healthy. We also accommodate special dietary requirements.
If you have any questions about our independent living retirement home in Hartford, give us a call at 1-860-233-8202. You may also schedule a tour of our facility by filling out our online form. We’ll be happy to help you in any way we can!.