What is Mindful Eating?
What is mindful eating?
Dieting or “Diet Culture” promises quick results but oftentimes does more harm than good. According to Today’s Dietitian, restrictive eating from dieting can lead to problematic eating behaviors that are difficult to break. These eating behaviors such as ignoring body cues for hunger and satiety, classifying foods as “good” or “bad,” and last chance thinking (“I already made a poor diet choice today, so I will just restart my diet tomorrow and eat what I want today.”), overtime can create an unhealthful relationship with food and eating.
Mindful eating is a concept currently being studied to help individuals develop a more healthful relationship around food and eating. Mindfulness is being more aware without criticism or judgement. It is letting go of any negative thoughts or feelings surrounding foods and embracing the qualities or characteristics one enjoys. It also allows individuals to relearn how to listen and respond intelligently to internal cues of hunger and satiety, reduce binge eating, and be more accepting of his or her body.
Consider experimenting with these mindful eating exercises:
- Begin eating only when you feel physically hungry. Ask yourself these questions.
- At what point do you feel like the food stops tasting as good as the first bite?
- When do you feel your hunger go away?
- When do you feel as if you could stop and go for a few hours with getting hungry again.
- Do you feel full?
- If not, do you feel like you need to feel full before you stop? Why or why not?
- Slow down while you are eating.
- Put your utensils down between bites. How does this affect your eating?
- Focus on the food in your mouth rather than the food you are planning to eat next. Does this make a difference in your eating?
- Alternate eating with you non-dominant hand. Does this work to help you slow down and pay more attention in your eating?
- Periodically pause during your meal to notice how hungry you still are and what you are thinking about. Is your mind on eating?
- Be mindful.