Simply: Mindful eating is eating with awareness

What Mindful Eating means

Mindful eating is not a diet. It uses a form of meditation called mindfulness, which helps you acknowledge and manage your emotions and physical sensations. Using this approach will help you reach a state of full awareness to your experiences, cravings, and physical cues when eating.

Mindful eating is about allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation by respecting your inner wisdom.

It also practices using all of your senses in choosing to eat food that is both satisfying to you and nourishing to your body. Along with acknowledging responses to food (likes, dislikes, or neutral) without judgment, you become aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decisions to begin and end eating.

Eating mindfully involves:

  • Acknowledging that there is no right or wrong way to eat
  • There are varying degrees of awareness surrounding the experience of food
  • Accepting that everyone’s eating experiences are unique
  • Directing your attention to eating on a moment-by-moment basis
  • Recognizing how you make choices that support health and well-being
  • Becoming aware of the interconnection of the Earth with living beings, and cultural practices and the impact of your choices on those.
  • To promote balance, choice, wisdom and acceptance.

Once you’ve got the hang of this, mindful eating will become more natural. Then you can focus on implementing this method into more meals!

Benefits of mindful eating

There are a lot of benefits in eating mindfully. Studies have reported that eating mindfully can reduce physiological distress such as depression, anxiety, stress, and eating behaviours including binge eating.  Mindful eating has also resulted in weight loss in overweight and obese people.  

So, what’s the difference between mindful eating and other popular diets? Rather than focusing on restricting calories, mindful eating provides a way to improve the body’s natural ability to control an eating behaviour. By encouraging awareness of emotional states and physiological signals, mindfulness meditation can increase the ability to recognize and respond to normal fullness cues.

Basically it can help change unwanted eating patterns.

How to eat mindfully

Here are 7 simple step to help you start eating mindfully:

  1. Slow down the pace at which you eat. For example, take breaks during bites, chew more slowly, take a break to breath and rate your fullness.
  2. Eat away from distractions, such as the TV, computer, or eating in the car.
  3. Take note on how your body lets you know when it’s hungry and full so you will recognise these cues more easily
  4. Use these cues to guide your decision on when to begin and end eating.
  5. Notice your responses to food (likes, dislikes, neutral) without judgement.
  6. Choose to eat food that is both pleasing and nourishing by using all of your senses (smell, taste, sight, sound) while eating.
  7. Become aware of and reflect on the effects caused by unmindful eating (e.g eating out of boredom or sadness, overeating to the point of feeling uncomfortable).

Once you’ve got the hang of this, mindful eating will become more natural. Then you can focus on implementing this method into more meals!