The core focus behind mindful eating is listening to our bodies and creating a positive relationship with food. Through mindfulness, one can listen to physical cues and pay attention to the experience to increase enjoyment and develop healthier eating habits. Mindful eating practices allow us to become aware of positive opportunities to choose food that is both satisfying and nourishing to our bodies, responding to food without judgement, and becoming aware of both physical hunger and satiety.
In our fast-paced, on-the- go society, eating has turned into a mindless act focusing our attention on other things, such as TV, phones, computers, eating while driving or commuting. This can be problematic because we are not responding to the signals from our bodies. It takes our bodies approximately 20 minutes to signal to our brain that we are full, it is easy to overeat within that 20-minute window. How, when, and what we eat is tied very closely to emotions. Learning how to respond to these feelings can assist in weight loss and achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Through practicing mindfulness, one can learn what their emotional triggers are and begin to realize the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger.
- When you are eating, simply eat. Turn off all distractions and pay attention to the taste, texture, color, and aroma of the food.
- Eat slower, without rushing meals. When eating, focus on how the food makes you feel.
- Pay attention to your body and stop eating when you’re no longer hungry or feel satisfied.
- Ask yourself why you’re eating – Am I hungry? Am I bored?
- Be forgiving and flexible – do not be obsessive over your choices and know that tomorrow is another day.
- Recognize your old habits and dedicate more energy and attention to breaking these behaviors
- Appreciate your food!