Mindful eating is based on mindfulness, a Buddhist concept. I feel that it is important to look at mindfulness first then go to mindful eating.
The definition of mindfulness is the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
So what is mindful eating?
Mindful eating is about using mindfulness to reach a state of full attention to your experiences, cravings, and physical cues when eating.
Mindful eating involves:
- eating slowly and without distraction
- listening to physical hunger cues and eating only until you’re full
- distinguishing between true hunger and non-hunger triggers for eating
- engaging your senses by noticing colors, smells, sounds, textures, and flavors
- learning to cope with guilt and anxiety about food
- eating to maintain overall health and well-being
- noticing the effects food has on your feelings and figure
- appreciating your food
Eating has become a mindless act, often done quickly. This can be problematic since it takes your brain up to 20 minutes to realize you’re full.
If you eat too fast, the fullness signal may not arrive until you have already eaten too much. This is very common in binge eating.
By eating mindfully, you restore your attention and slow down, making eating an intentional act instead of an automatic one.
Like most of us, you’ve probably eaten something in the past few hours. And, like many of us, you may not be able to recall everything you ate, let alone the sensation of eating it.
I have been using a food tracking app to keep a food log and to be aware of my macronutrients and micronutrients.
Mindful-eating food choices are similar to the Mediterranean diet (eating style) that I have adopted. Mediterranean eating is centered on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and vegetable oils—the technique can be applied to a cheeseburger and fries. (I am not to judge what you are eating) KEY IS to truly pay attention to the food you eat. You may indulge in these types of foods less often. In essence, mindful eating means being fully attentive to your food—as you buy, prepare, serve, and consume it. However, adopting the practice may take more than a few adjustments in the way you approach meals and snacks.
1. Begin with your shopping list. Consider the health value of every item you add to your list and stick to it to avoid impulse buying when you’re shopping. Fill most of your cart in the produce section and avoid the center aisles—which are heavy with processed foods—and the chips and candy at the check-out counter.
2. Come to the table with an appetite— but not when ravenously hungry. If you skip meals, you may be so eager to get anything in your stomach that your first priority is filling the void instead of enjoying your food.
3. Start with a small portion. It may be helpful to limit the size of your plate to nine inches or less.
4. Appreciate your food. Pause for a minute or two before you begin eating to contemplate everything and everyone it took to bring the meal to your table. Silently express your gratitude for the opportunity to enjoy delicious food and the companions you’re enjoying it with.
5. Bring all your senses to the meal. When you’re cooking, serving, and eating your food, be attentive to color, texture, aroma, and even the sounds different foods make as you prepare them. As you chew your food, try identifying all the ingredients, especially seasonings.
6. Take small bites. It’s easier to taste food completely when your mouth isn’t full. Put down your utensil between bites.
7. Chew thoroughly. Chew well until you can taste the essence of the food. (You may have to chew each mouthful 20 to 40 times, depending on the food.) You may be surprised at all the flavors that are released.
8. Eat slowly. If you follow the advice above, you won’t bolt your food down. Devote at least five minutes to mindful eating before you chat with your tablemates.
Mindfulness is an Attitude
When I lost my path I became a self-loathing, people-pleasing, overachieving, overthinking, overworking-myself kind of woman. I dedicated my life to my pain — and one day the rug was pulled out from under me. I had a reality check. But that checking point did not stop. I had event after event after event to wake me up! The shooting was the catalyst to some dark nights in my soul and events that would just amaze you if you knew what happened to me and all that led to some severe medical issues. Those medical issues are what have recently caused my reconnection to my holistic side and my hard work to fix it all.
Mindfulness is actually an attitude toward your experience. In other words, it’s a way to relate to whatever arises in the heart, the mind, and the body. Remember that Mindfulness is more than just meditation and sitting on a cushion — it’s a lifestyle, a way of living with attention and intention. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the Father of Mindfulness, wrote the 9 Attitudinal Foundations of Mindfulness which may serve you as a guideline on how to think and be more mindful.
So slow down and look in the mirror.
Learn how to be present. Learn some Mindfulness then add that to how you eat.
Let me just close with this thought. We all should know how to eat right. We all know that we have to eat healthily and stay positive. Some don’t know how to eat right. Some don’t know what is right for their own body. (That was me!) Some do not know how to stay positive. This blog is about how I see things. I am not trying to do anything but share what I learn, relearn or dive deeper into. This is my path, my story and if I help others that is wonderful.