Mindful eating has become an increasingly growing trend over the past few years as people began to make the connection between stress and weight gain, or just healthy living in general. Mindful eating can be a useful tool to improve overall health, decrease stress, and even reach a healthy weight. Although the notion of mindful eating may seem like a simple task, it can be difficult to get the hang of it. However, once you know the steps, it can become a second nature. This is what I've learned from my personal endeavor into mindful eating.

A little backstory:

I used to genuinely believe that I had muted tastebuds. Muted tastebuds. Can you believe that? I seriously thought I couldn't taste food. I used to be a pretty hefty child and I would scarf down my food as if it was another task I had to get out of the way, never tasting what I was actually eating. I used to tell my friends how I couldn't even taste the difference between sushi, and how I could eat bean boozled jelly beans without flinching. 

And then came along mindful eating. I could finally taste food; what a breakthrough! So now I'm here to pass my knowledge along. 

Step 1: Try to cook your own meal

Sure, were not all Gordon Ramsey, but at least attempt to cook your own meal. It is well-known that cooking or baking can be therapeutic. In addition, arranging your food in a beautiful way can make it taste even better. Cooking your own meals is an accomplishment and makes food taste even better

Step 2: Get comfortable

If you're not in your most comfortable position, that's what you will focus on instead of your food. This also applies to temperature. In my experience, difficult temperatures make me completely lose my appetite. 

Step 3: Eliminate all distractions

Eating distracted takes away from the entire experience. Turn off the TV, put down your phone, and feel the difference that comes with being present. 

Step 4: Stop and smell 

You don't have to go crazy here, just notice the aromas wafting from your food. Let your brain prepare for the taste and then...

Step 5: Take a bite

Take a bite about the size of half your mouth, and then, breathe through your nose. This was the key for me. Taking long, slow breaths through my nose as I chewed was what really unlocked my tastebuds and gave me a more pleasurable experience. Also, make sure to chew thoroughly and notice the texture of the food as it is being consumed. 

Step 6: Stop when you're full

Through my experience, it seems as though two handfuls of food is the right amount for filling the stomach, but not overeating. Asses your hunger as you go by checking in. Try breathing into your diaphragm to asses how full you feel. 

Of course, not every meal can be eaten mindfully, but incorporating a mindful meal into your day can make a huge difference for stress levels, digestion, and overall mood. Living a slower lifestyle in general has a world of benefits for health and happiness.