Savour, Taste and Truly Enjoy... Eating Mindfully

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Savour, Taste and Truly Enjoy... Eating Mindfully

What is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating is paying full attention to the eating experience with all of our senses. It’s being aware of our physical, mental, and emotional responses to eating without judgment.

Mindful Eating versus Mindless Eating

Mindful eating is:

• Eating slowly and allowing yourself to savor the texture, taste, and mouth feel of food• Eating without distraction • Tuning into your physical hunger and fullness cues • Eating for pleasure AND nourishment – choosing foods you truly enjoy while being aware of foods to eat more often and foods to eat in moderation • Being aware of the effects of mindless eating • Reflecting on the journey your food may have taken to arrive at your plate

Mindless eating is:

• Eating on autopilot which is useful for shoe tying, not so much for eating • Eating very quickly and not truly tasting the food • Eating while distracted, such as watching TV or while on the computer • Ignoring physical hunger and fullness cues, including not eating when physically hungry and/or eating until bursting point • Following very strict, unrealistic rules about food and eating • No thought about food’s effect on health • No awareness or appreciation of food’s path before arriving at your plate

Are there Benefits to Mindful Eating?

The evidence is in its infancy, but there is a growing body of research to suggest possible links between mindful eating and benefits to physical and mental health. Potential benefits of practicing mindful eating include: improving blood sugar levels; weight loss (if someone is above their natural weight) and maintenance; decreased depression; anxiety; and binge eating; increased self-compassion and sense of empowerment with regard to eating

Mindful eating can help you understand the connection between your emotions and eating. For example, you may be able to recognize (yet not criticize) how stress or boredom may influence your food choices or how much you eat.

A Few Tips To Help You Eat Mindfully

1) Eat at the kitchen table without distractions. If this is a foreign concept to you, you might want to start with one or two meals a week and go from there. 2) Savor the flavor of your food. 3) Pay attention to the texture, taste, and color of your food. 4) Ask yourself whether you truly enjoy the food you are eating. 5) Tune into your physical hunger and fullness cues and increase awareness of physical versus emotional hunger. For example, when you get that “pang” to eat, check in and ponder, "Am I really physically hungry? Or am I bored, tired, overwhelmed?” If you are not physically hungry, ask yourself, “Is there another activity I can do other than eat?” such as going for a walk, reading, calling a friend, writing in a journal, etc. 6) Slow down! Our lives are very hectic and busy. We rarely take the time to slow down and enjoy the moment we are in, including meal times.

I think it’s safe to say we can’t always eat mindfully. However, using a more mindful approach to eating may help you develop or maintain a positive relationship with food. You may also experience benefits to your physical and mental well-being. It’s certainly helpful to learn about nutrition and which foods are important for our health, but let’s not forget to use our own experience with food and eating to help guide our choices around what and how much to eat.

Submitted by: Amy Pickering, RD

 

Works Cited

Greeson, J.M. (2008). Mindfulness Research Update. US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2679512/

Harvard Health Letter. (2011). Mindful Eating. Harvard Health Publications. Retrieved from http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Health_Letter/2011/February/mindful-eating

May, M. (2013).Mindful Eating: Get Out of Autopilot. Retrieved from: http://www.amihungry.com/mindful-eating.shtml

The Center for Mindful Eating. (2012). Principles of Mindful Eating. Retrieved from: http://thecenterformindfuleating.org/


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