Mindful eating is essentially bringing the act of mindfulness, or being present, to eating. It is focussing on and paying attention to the act of eating with all of our senses.
Mindful eating can help you identify and work on behaviours around food that may be detrimental, such as over eating, emotional eating or eating when you’re not hungry. It can also help you enjoy food more and improve our relationship with food.
Do you need to start practicing mindful eating?
If you find you’re doing any of the following, mindful eating may be helpful:
• Eating until you feel over full or sick;
• Eating when you’re not hungry, or grazing all day so you rarely feel hungry;
• Eating while you’re distracted and not paying attention to what you’re eating;
• Speeding through meals;
• Not remembering the taste of the meal you’ve just eaten.
Here are some ways to bring mindfulness to your eating.
Check your hunger
Before eating, stop and have a think about how you are feeling. Are you feeling hungry? How would you rate your hunger on a scale of 1-10? If you’re not feeling hungry ask yourself, am I bored, stressed, upset or worried?
Avoid distractions and sit down
Take the time to have a proper mealtime. Turn off the TV and put your phone, iPad or laptop out of reach. Set a place at the table and sit down to eat.
Slow it down
It’s not a race. Take small bites and chew your food properly. Many people rush and don’t chew their food properly, which not only leads to overeating but can cause problems with your digestion. Put your cutlery down in between mouthfuls and sip on some water.
Eat with your senses
Slowing down your eating allows you to tune into your senses. What does your food look and smell like? How does it feel in your mouth? Take time to savour the taste – what does it taste like? Are you enjoying the taste? How does it feel when you swallow? How does eating the food make you feel afterward?
Stop when you start to feel full
Take note of your hunger subsiding and when you are starting to feel full. Stop eating when you feel satisfied – this is when you no longer feel hungry but also do not feel overly full.
Mindful eating takes practice, and you don’t need to be an expert straight away. It can start with just one meal per day and build from there. It will help you to feel more aware and in control of your eating habits.start your journey now