What is mindful eating?
What is mindful eating?
Mindful eating brings mindfulness to food choice and the experience of eating, as defined by The Center for Mindful Eating. Bringing mindfulness into your daily practice is when you are bringing full attention and awareness to your experience, without judgment. This can be applied to food with the principle of mindful eating, where you are taking the time to truly be present with your meals and snacks.
Mindful eating increases your awareness of why, when, what, how, and how much you eat. When you are able to observe your eating patterns without judgment, you can start to see food in a new light. As you begin to recognize triggers that may lead to emotional eating or “stress eating,” you can gain a better understanding of your relationship with food.
Bring mindfulness into eating
According to The Center for Mindful Eating, bringing mindfulness into eating can create new experiences, such as:
- Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food preparation and consumption, by respecting your own inner wisdom
- Choosing to eat food that is both pleasing to you and nourishing your body, by using all your senses to explore, savor, and taste
- Acknowledging responses to food (likes, neutral, and dislikes), without judgment
- Learning to be aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decision to begin eating and to stop eating
How can I utilize mindfulness in my day to day?
Here are some helpful strategies from one of Ciba Health’s Registered Dietitians, Leah Tsui, to bring more mindfulness into your eating:
- Consider your hunger and fullness when approaching a meal’s beginning and end. Where do you land on the Hunger-Fullness scale?
- Consider how your food tastes: what does it smell like? Are the textures pleasing to you? What about the taste do you like or dislike? Are you enjoying your food? Whatever you observe, try to do it without judgment.
- When making food choices, are you choosing the food because you like it? Are you choosing the food for health reasons? Are you choosing the food because you’ve been told to eat this way? Bringing some consideration to your food choices can help bring more mindfulness to how you’re making decisions with your groceries or meals out.
- Strive to eat your meals and snacks away from your desk and phone—when you are not subject to distractions from emails and ongoing notifications, you tend to notice your food more.
- Set a timer for 15 minutes. Did you use the whole 15 minutes to eat? Or did you quickly eat everything because of a time crunch? Practice the art of slowing down to further support digestion in your “rest & digest” phase.