Monday Lifestyle Education Discussion:
“Mindfulness in Eating”
Are you a mindful eater? Probably not. Would you lose weight, have more energy and feel more empowered if you practiced mindful eating? Would you have a more peaceful relationship with food? Definitely, yes.
Mindfulness is not a new concept, but it’s certainly not well practiced by most Americans. Being mindful simply means to be consciously aware or curious about your experiences. The principles are profoundly simple, and yet very hard to instill in our daily lives. Never is the lack more apparent than with our eating habits, but if you can develop (practice) eating in a more mindful way, the benefits are completely worth it.
How do you know if you’re a mindful eater (vs mindless eater)? Do you:
– consciously take the time to take a breath or two between bites when eating?
– take time to check in during mealtimes to assess fullness level?
– check awareness of feelings and emotions before you order, prepare or eat food?
– Eat 90% of food/meals/snacks while sitting down with no distractions?
I’m guessing that most of you are mindless eaters (I am too ???? ). If so, you may suffer from digestive upset such as reflux, bloating, IBS, weight gain, low energy, and feelings of guilt. You may find yourself constantly on a diet, but never achieving long-term success. There is no guilt in mindful eating. In fact, mindful eating is all about suspending judgments. Food is neither good, nor bad, but the eating experience provides you with the opportunity to increase awareness of HOW and WHY you eat the way you do. MINDFUL EATING IS NON-JUDGMENTAL AND IS ABOUT RELYING ON INTERNAL CUES FOR HUNGER, APPETITE AND SATIETY TO GUIDE YOUR EATING. MINDFUL EATING IS EATING CONSCIOUSLY IN A WAY TO MAKE YOUR BODY FEEL WELL. Most of us have to get reacquainted with our internal monitors for hunger and satiety.
The benefits of mindful eating are numerous:
– helps to reduce overeating/binge episodes
– helps with weight loss
– helps remove unwanted, automatic food habits (emotional eating)
– promotes a peaceful relationship with food
– helps with satisfaction of meals and enjoyment of nourishing foods
Practical ways to get started with Mindful Eating
– Practice being more mindful in all aspects of your life
– Practice understanding the difference between hunger and craving
– Notice your emotions when you eat–How you feel, thoughts, feelings?
– Begin to eat using all of your senses
– Start small—try one mindful meal this week
– Set your kitchen timer to 20 minutes and take that time to eat a meal
– Try eating with non-dominant hand
– Use chopsticks
– Eat silently for 5 minutes, thinking about what it took to produce that meal, from the sun’s rays to the farmer to the grocer to the cook
– Take small bites and chew well
Ask yourself “Am I Hungry?” If not physiologically hungry, take a walk
– Eat Until 80% full
For more on Mindful Eating, visit Dr. Michelle May’s website: