‘Mindful eating’ can be a powerful tool to gain control over your eating habits. Find out what mindful eating is and how to start this practice today!
What is mindful eating?
Mindful eating is simply applying mindfulness to eating. So, I guess the real question is, what is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the state of being conscious or aware of something. When we are mindful, we are focusing our awareness on the present moment, while acknowledging and accepting our feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
When we apply the concept of mindfulness to our eating, we eat with attention; noticing and enjoying our food when we eat it as well as noticing its effects on our body. When it comes to mindful eating, the focus of this practice is more so on how you eat, instead of just what you eat. That being said, it is still important to nourish your body with nutrient-dense food.
Mindful Eating for Emotional Eaters
Applying the concept of mindful eating can do wonders for your eating challenges. If you struggle with emotional eating, binge eating or overeating, mindful eating is the exact opposite of these things. Mindful eating allows us to pay attention to our bodily sensations when we eat such as our hunger and satiety cues, allowing you to notice when you are full and satisfied from your food. This practice takes time to develop, especially if you’ve struggled with disordered eating or chronic dieting for a long time.
And remember that this doesn’t replace eating healthy, balanced meals. Rather, the concept of mindful eating should be combined with a healthy mentality of eating nourishing foods to energize and nurture your body. When you eat in this way, slowly but surely you will reduce binge eating, overeating, and improve your overall relationship with food!
3 Simple Steps to Practice Mindful Eating:
1) Eat sitting down Sitting down to eat focuses your mind on eating which helps you get in tune with your bodily sensations and physical cues for hunger and satiety. This allows you to notice the point when you are full and satisfied from your meal, lessening the chance of overeating (mindless eating).
2) Eating without distractions Our lives are full of distractions, especially these days, when we’re practically glued to our electronics. Try making your meals electronic-free by turning off the TV and putting down your phone. This will allow you to pay attention to and enjoy your food without distractions.
3) Eat slowly Practice chewing your food. When you eat slowly, you have a chance to really taste and savor your food. This simple step can help overeating, aid digestion, and can even support healthy weight loss!
Practice Takes Time – be patient!
Practicing mindful eating requires repetition and will take time, so be patient and take baby steps. I recommend starting out by applying these steps to one meal of the day. Eventually the goal is to apply these principles to each and every eating experience you have.
If other dieting and eating techniques have failed you in the past, I encourage you to give mindful eating a try! When you pay attention to and enjoy the food you eat every day, you’ll have less compulsion to emotionally eat and instead, eat to nourish your body and enjoy your life!