What is Mindful eating?
Eating is the ingestion of food and an activity of daily living. Eating is a natural, healthy and pleasurable activity for satisfying hunger.
Mindful eating is eating with intention and attention. Eating with intention of caring for yourself. Eating with attention necessary for noticing and enjoying your foods and the effects it has on your body.
Mindful eating allows you to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation by respecting your own inner wisdom.
With eating mindlessly you’re just putting food into your mouth almost unconsciously, not really tasting the food you’re eating.
Paying Attention with Mindful Eating:
– Recognizing when your body just needs water – example, most people snack instead of reaching for water. So before you realize you have consumed unhealthy and unnecessary calories in your day.
– Pay attention to the textures and the flavours. How it makes you feel during and after eating.
– Pay attention to what you’re eating – is it healthy or not? Making those choices that support health and wellbeing.
– How full (or sated) you are before, during and after eating.
– where the food came from, who might have grown it, how much it may have suffered before it was killed, whether it was grown organically, how much it was processed. Was it fried or overcooked?
Whenever you notice you feel like eating – pause and ask the question ‘Am I hungry?’ This brings awareness, responsibility and helps empower you to break old habits.
Michele May M.D developed a Mindful Eating Cycle.
Why do I eat? Or in other words, what is driving my eating cycle at any given time?
When do I feel like eating? When do I think about eating? When do I decide to eat?
What do I eat? What do I choose from all the available options?
How do I eat? How, specifically, do I get the food I’ve chosen into my body?
How much? How much do I eat? How much fuel do I consume?
Where do I invest the energy I consume? Where does the fuel I’ve consumed go?
Benefits of mindful eating:
1. You become aware of food choices and eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re sated.
2. You become aware of how to really taste food, and enjoy the taste of healthy food.
3. You slowly start to realize that unhealthy food isn’t as tasty as you thought, nor does it make you feel good.
4. If you’re overweight you begin to loose weight.
5. You become aware and can sort through the emotional issues you have around food and eating.
6. You make changes to social overeating as it becomes less of a problem – you can eat mindfully while socializing, with practice, and not overeat.
7. You become more present and more in control of eating.
8. You awaken to how food affects your mood and energy throughout the day.
This is being mindful. It’s not acquired overnight but takes practice.
Remember we are all on a journey.