Learn to nourish your body and strengthen your relationship with food by practicing mindfulness.
Mindless vs Mindful
Is your mind “full” when eating? Mindless eating is disregarding the body’s hunger cues, lacking awareness of food consumption, participating in emotional eating, inconsistent food behaviors, and multitasking while eating meals. Engaging in mindless eating patterns impairs food reward and punishment behaviors, leading to overconsumption and obesity, impacting long-term health. (1) It’s crucial to practice mindful eating to boost cognitive, emotional, and behavioral mechanisms. (1)
Mindful eating is a heightened awareness of eating habits, bodily reactions, and sentiments about food, with a non-judgemental perspective that encourages purposeful intent and emphasizes in-the-moment enjoyment. Further benefits of mindful eating involve positive dietary behaviors, weight loss promotion, and improvements in blood glucose levels among individuals with diabetes. (2) So, how can you practice mindful eating? Delve into the following seven mindful eating tips to get started.
7 Mindful Eating Tips
- Value Your Food. Where did the food cultivate? How was it prepared? Who was involved in the process? Consider and appreciate the details engaged in the food’s journey from the earthy ground to the mouth-watering plate.
- Develop Healthy Eating Conditions. Reduce distractions and focus solely on eating your food. Eat intentionally by turning off the TV, setting aside devices, ignoring work responsibilities, and evading multitasking. Research suggests that distractions impact food intake compromising memory and repressing satiety cues which leads to overeating. (3)
- Slow Down For A Complete Food Experience. Chew thoroughly, engage the senses, and relish the bite. Break the cycle of eating in a rush and notice your food’s presentation, aroma, essence, and texture. Pause repeatedly and savor the moment.
- Listen to Your Body. Be aware of internal cues. Is your stomach growling? Do you feel satisfied? Are you reaching fullness? Consider your body’s physiological responses to determine levels of hunger and satiety.
- Eat Regularly. Develop a standard eating routine. Set aside time and choose a setting that is devoted to consuming meals. Skipping food intake is associated with poor diet quality, lack of essential nutrients, low energy, and cardiometabolic risk factors. (4)
- Consume Nutritionally Healthy Food. Take care and nourish your body. Eat plant-based to improve your psychological and physiological health. (5) Check out my last blog about meal planning to start your journey toward a nutritionally balanced diet!
- Be Conscious About Reactive Food Impulses. What are you feeling? Are you stressed, bored, or upset? Before getting something to eat, consider if you are genuinely physically hungry. If you are not, take care of your emotions by partaking in a more suitable activity. (2)
It takes time to develop mindful eating. Taking your time to eat, chewing thoroughly every bite, and putting away distractions is a great place to start! For more helpful tips, subscribe to my newsletter.
- Janssen LK, Duif I, van Loon I, et al. Greater mindful eating practice is associated with better reversal learning. Sci Rep. 2018;8(1):5702. Published 2018 Apr 9. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-24001-1
- Nelson JB. Mindful Eating: The Art of Presence While You Eat. Diabetes Spectr. 2017;30(3):171-174. doi:10.2337/ds17-0015
- Ogden J, Coop N, Cousins C, et al. Distraction, the desire to eat and food intake. Towards an expanded model of mindless eating. Appetite. 2013;62:119-126. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2012.11.023
- Pendergast FJ, Livingstone KM, Worsley A, McNaughton SA. Correlates of meal skipping in young adults: a systematic review. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2016;13(1):125. Published 2016 Dec 1. doi:10.1186/s12966-016-0451-1
- Medawar E, Huhn S, Villringer A, Veronica Witte A. The effects of plant-based diets on the body and the brain: a systematic review. Transl Psychiatry. 2019;9(1):226. Published 2019 Sep 12. doi:10.1038/s41398-019-0552-0