What is Mindful Eating?

mindful-eatingYou may have heard of mindful eating on TV, in magazines, or online. It’s a pretty hot topic right now. In fact, it’s been being talked about so much that a lot of people get the false impression that it’s some kind of new fad diet. In fact, mindful eating isn’t a diet at all – but it can help you lose weight.

The goal of mindful eating is pretty simple. It’s about being more mindful of the foods you eat. It’s about really enjoying food and using it to nourish your body instead of eating just to eat. You take time to feel your body and learn about hunger cues.

Your body knows what it needs but we’ve stopped listening to it. We eat at specific times instead of when we’re hungry, we eat until we’re stuffed, and we learn early that we’re not supposed to leave food on the plate when we leave the table. These habits actually hurt you in the long run.

Mindful eating isn’t a diet. It’s a lifestyle where you eat when you’re truly hungry, you pick foods that are delicious and nourishing, and you take time to savor each bite. It’s also the best step you can take towards getting rid of the unhealthy diet mindset and developing a healthy relationship with food.

There is a common slogan used along with mindful eating:

Mindful eating is eating with intention and attention.

The key steps to mindful eating are:

  1. Listen to your body when it comes to hunger. Eat when you’re actually hungry, not when it’s time to eat. You should also take care to make sure it’s actually hunger and not emotional hunger or thirst.

You can drink water throughout the day to avoid “thirst hunger” but “emotional hunger” is a bit more difficult. The more practice you have with mindful eating the better you’ll get it at it. The main thing to remember is that emotional hunger happens quickly while actual hunger is more gradual. Emotional hunger can be triggered by stress, fear, and tons of other emotions.

You should also stop eating before you feel stuffed. Instead, aim to be done when you no longer feel hungry. That stuffed feeling is actually you overeating! Don’t be afraid to leave some food on the plate.

  1. There are is no “healthy” and “unhealthy” when it comes to food. There are, however, foods that are more nourishing.

As part of the mindful eating lifestyle you can eat anything. You do want to aim to fill your diet with foods that are nourishing to your body but there is nothing wrong with having some ice cream or chocolate. You’re free to make that choice. Just make sure you’re doing it because you want to, not because of emotional hunger.

  1. Eat your food slowly and enjoy it.

Eating food slowly will make you feel full more quickly but it also makes sure you enjoy the time you spend eating. Find a quiet place and savor each bite. Really taste it and feel the textures. Think about how the food will nourish your body. In between bites put down your fork and take a sip of water. Enjoy your meal!

The goal is to be mindful while you eat. Think about the food, how you feel both physically and emotionally, and learn to pay more attention to the way food affects you.


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Comments

  1. Eating healthy is the only type of mindful eating for me.
    Paola Fuentes recently posted..Como Obtener La Visa a Estados Unidos FácilmenteMy Profile

    • That’s awesome, Paola! I’ve incorporated just a few mindful eating components so far, including making healthy food choices but also slowing down to enjoy my food and paying attention while I eat it. I used to be terrible at properly chewing each bite and ate waaaay to fast. Thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂
      Mikayla recently posted..What is Mindful Eating?My Profile

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