What is Mindful Eating?
Mindfulness is rooted in bringing full awareness and attention to the present moment. Mindful eating is based on the same principles, just with food. Mindful eating is all about paying attention to the food you are eating like taking in the appearance, texture, flavors, and even the preparation process if you are cooking your meal. And on top of that, it’s also a judgement-free zone. Mindful eating helps reconnect with our own innate wisdom about hunger and satiety. Being more engaged with what you are eating can lead to less mindless munching and can help you navigate and pick more fulfilling options throughout your day. Mindful eating helps us slow down, check in with our needs, and make empowering decisions when it comes to our meals and snacks.
Benefits of Mindful Eating
- Increased awareness of how food makes you feel during and after a meal
- Better understanding of which foods you enjoy and which ones you dislike
- Increased enjoyment and satisfaction from food
- Better understanding of your motivations for eating
- Increased appreciation and gratefulness for your food
- Increased ability to cope with non-physical reasons for eating
- Decreased feelings of guilt and shame around food
Tips on Starting Your Mindful Eating Journey
1. Check in while you’re eating
- Try the ‘first bite, mid-way bite, and last bite’ approach
- At each check in, consider checking in on how rushed you’re feeling.
- What are your hunger cues – are you eating to nourish or for comfort, or both?
- What does the food taste and feel like?
- How the food makes you feel emotionally and physically?
2. Limit distractions when eating
- Avoid doing work, watching TV, or scrolling through your phone while eating. The major goal of mindful eating is focusing on all the aspects and feelings associated with eating. It can be difficult to be fully engaged when your attention is divided.
3. Remember it is a judgement free mindset
- Eating mindfully is challenging in our fast-paced society and it can be nearly impossible to slow down at every eating opportunity and practice mindfulness.
- Remember to have compassion for yourself and that this is not an “all or nothing” approach. Try eating mindfully at one meal or snack to start, and build momentum with each successful mindful meal or snack. With nearly anything, practice makes perfect! The more you practice mindful eating, the easier it will become.
Written By: Katie Painter, RDN