You may have heard the term “mindful eating” before, but what exactly does it mean? Let’s dive into what mindful eating is, the benefits of mindful eating, and how to get started.
What is Mindful Eating?
Mindful eating stems from mindfulness. Mindfulness is the state of being aware of thoughts and experiences in the present moment without judgment. Mindful eating is being aware of the thoughts that guide our eating choices. Eating mindfully is eating with intention and tuning into all of our senses while eating. Mindful eating aims to take the “good” and “bad” labels away from food and helps us make food choices based on hunger, rather than emotional triggers such as stress.
Benefits of Mindful Eating
Mindful eating may help you become more aware of your innate hunger and fullness cues that we often overlook in our everyday lives. This may help you eat an amount of food that feels comfortable for you, versus becoming uncomfortably full. Mindful eating may also help you become aware of what foods you enjoy vs. what foods you mindlessly eat.
Mindful eating may help you enjoy meals more by slowing down, being present, taking in all the flavors, aromas, and textures of the food you are eating. Slow down and ask yourself “Am I hungry or full?”, “Am I enjoying my food?”, “Am I present or am I mindlessly eating?”. It may seem silly the first couple of times, but it will help you become more in tune with your eating experience.
How to Get Started
Mindful eating is a skill and doesn’t happen overnight. You certainly do not need to be a mindfulness meditation expert to implement some beginner mindful eating practices into your life. Start simple by intentionally slowing down and putting your utensils down between bites. Take deep breaths and eat your meals with intention. Remove distractions, such as the tv, cell phones, or work computers. Try to focus on your meals and any conversations you may be sharing over mealtimes. Most importantly, remember there is no right or wrong way to mindfully eat. Be gentle with yourself.
We hope these tips helped you better understand the practice of mindful eating!