Mindfulness is defined as the quality or state of being aware of the present moment. When we are fully present and aware of what we are doing and how we are feeling, we are strengthening the innate mindfulness muscle available to us all. It is a human state that can be tapped into at any time, and can be applied to several aspects of life, including our relationship with food. Mindful food selection, preparation, and consumption allow us to make food choices that can contribute to healthier eating habits and lifestyle choices.
Mindless vs. Mindful Eating
- Eating while distracted
- Reduced sensitivity to aspects of food (sight, smell, taste, sound, texture)
- Reduced awareness of the amount of food being consumed
- Being fully focused on the eating experience
- Increased sensitivity to the sight, smell, taste, sound, and texture of foods
- Awareness of the amount of food being consumed; sensitive to hunger and satiety cues
Benefits of mindful eating include better digestion, keeping you fuller with less food, influencing wiser food choices, and helping you to free yourself from unhealthy habits around food and eating.
Tips for Mindful Eating
- Reject the diet mentality
Healthy, mindful eating is not about obtaining drastic weight changes overnight; it’s about adopting small, consistent lifestyle changes that lead to achievable, long-term health goals.
- Honor your hunger
Your body needs food-based fuel to keep itself going. Recognize that your body has nutritional needs that can be met through healthy eating. When you are hungry, don’t be afraid to eat. Make health-conscious choices when eating, that way you won’t feel guilty afterward.
- Respect your fullness
When your stomach begins to reach a point of satisfaction, do not feel like you need to continue eating more than it can hold. It is okay to stop eating and save the remainder of your meal for a future time when your appetite comes back again.
- Make peace with food
Food is your friend, not your foe. Recognize that its job is to give you the energy your body needs to perform. And keep in mind that with moderation and mindfulness, you can make peace with all of the foods you put into your body.