Mindful eating is eating with intention and attention
Eating is a natural, healthy, and pleasurable activity for satisfying hunger. However, in our food-abundant, diet-obsessed culture, eating is often mindless, consuming, and guilt-inducing instead. Mindful eating is an ancient mindfulness practice with profound modern implications and applications for resolving this troubled love-hate relationship with food.
So, what is mindful eating?
- Mindful eating is eating with intention and attention
- Eating with the intention of caring for yourself
- Eating with the attention necessary for noticing and enjoying your food and its effects on your body
As you can see, mindful eating is much more than “eating slowly, without distraction.”
- Awareness of your physical and emotional cues
- Recognition of your non-hunger triggers for eating
- Learning to meet your other needs in more effective ways than eating
- Choosing food for both enjoyment and nourishment
- Eating for optimal satisfaction and satiety
- Using the fuel you’ve consumed to live the vibrant life you crave
How does mindful eating help solve eating issues?
Many people who struggle with food react mindlessly to their unrecognised or unexamined triggers, thoughts, and feelings. In other words, they re-act repeating past actions again and again feeling powerless to change. Mindfulness increases your awareness of these patterns without judgement and creates space between your triggers and your actions.
For example, whenever you notice that you feel like eating and pause to ask the question, “Am I hungry?” you are able to observe your thoughts and choose how you will respond. Instead of reacting mindlessly, mindfulness gives you response-ability. That is how mindful eating empowers you to finally break old automatic or habitual chain reactions and discover options that work better for you.
Eat when truly hungry, and stop eating when comfortably full or satisfied. You don’t need to eat by the clock you eat by your own body clock!
10 Mindful Eating Questions
Ask yourself “Do I tend to:”
- Stop eating when I am full
- Eat when I am hungry rather than emotional
- Not “pick” at food
- Taste each bite before reaching for the next
- Think about how nourishing food is for me body
- Be non-judgemental of myself and when I accidentally overeat
- Not multi-task while I eat. When I eat, I just eat
- Be able to leave some food on my plate if I don’t want it
- Eat slowly, chewing each bite
- Recognise when I slip into mindless eating (zoned out, popping food into my mouth)
Dinielle Farquharson – Nutritionist