Mindful eating is the practice of paying attention to food – engaging with it, consuming it, and experiencing it in a highly mindful way. Mindful eating isn’t so much about nutrition and more about the experience the mind and the body has surrounding the entire eating process.
Mindful eating comes from the Buddhist concept of mindfulness. Mindful eating can help close the gap between the mind and body by creating an awareness of cues like hunger, fullness, cravings, and how food feels during eating and in the body.
Nowadays the world is moving so fast, there is little time to be mindful about eating. Food is served through windows on the go and consumed in front of computer screens and television sets. Eating is less about health and more about convenience. Mindful eating can help reconnect the mind and the body with the experience of nourishment for health purposes rather than convenience.
Here are some top tips for beginning a mindfulness eating practice. Don’t try to do it all at one time.
Pay attention to hunger cues. There are two types of hunger – physical and emotional. Eating for physical reasons is about fueling our bodies for energy and health, whereas eating for emotional reasons may include poor choices like more salt, fat, and sugar than our body needs. Pay attention to hunger cues and notice why you feel hungry and what your body is asking for.
Pay attention to your senses. Minimizing distractions at mealtime will make your meals more meaningful. Also, pay close attention to your senses. How does your food look, smell, taste, and feel? Can you connect the experience your mind and your body are having with your meal.
Notice any affects the food has on your feelings. Some people have associations with food that don’t serve them. Feelings like guilt, shame, and pain go hand-in-hand with eating. As you are more mindful, notice the feelings you have about what you are eating and how you are eating. Give yourself permission to let the judgment of your feelings go. Rather, simply notice them. Get any support you need to help navigate those feelings. You don’t have to go through it alone.
Mindful eating is an excellent way to create a close mind and body connection. Being present with eating and thoroughly connected to the process is a wonderful way to get the mind and body in sync. For our free 5-day email series on how you can integrate mindful eating into your daily life, click HERE.