Mindful eating is one of the hottest topics in nutrition today. Not surprising at all, given the health and wellness benefits it’s been proven to have. Yet despite the attention its getting, most people today still aren’t sure what exactly it is, and as a result struggle to provide guidance on the topic to their clients. In this post, we offer a high level overview on what mindful eating is, why it’s important, and 5 quick tips to start practicing.
So, what is mindful eating? Mindful eating, rooted in Buddhist philosophy and tradition, is the belief (and mindset) that we can experience food more intensely (and enjoy it more) by increasing the awareness and concentration we ascribe. It represents a profound shift in the way most Americans eat today, and can have a profound and positive impact on the relationship we develop with food.
Ready for a mindful eating challenge? Next time you eat, put your fork down between each bite, and keep it on your plate for 30 seconds before taking the next one. While chewing, concentrate on the flavors and how you’re feeling as you eat.
5 Tips to get started today!
- Eat slowly: Chew every bite deliberately, pausing to actually taste the flavors.
- Focus on your food: Put away your phone, turn off the TV, set the magazine aside. Multi-tasking while chowing down, or “passive eating” means that our bodies aren’t being satiated as we eat, which means we are more likely to ingest unnecessary calories and also not enjoy the process of eating as much.
- Be intentional with every bite: These days, portion sizes are larger than ever! This easily leads to overeating and confusion as to how much we should be putting into our bodies. Don’t worry about eating to finish your plate.
- Check in with yourself: Why are you eating? Understand and be cognizant of whether you are hungry, actually just thirsty, or even bored / engrained in a habit of eating at a particular time. Get into the
- Build new habits: Instead of eating because it’s time for dinner, eat when you’re hungry, and don’t eat when you aren’t. We know, easier said than done. But, start one day at a time.
At the end of the day, Mindful Eating comes down to truly appreciating, enjoying, and respecting the food and drink you put into your body, every single time. Just like with any new behavior, with practice, any individual can incorporate mindful eating into their life.