All About Mindful Eating

February 28th, 2021

A person eating mindfully

What is mindfulness and mindful eating?

Mindfulness describes a healthy state of mind when we pay attention and are aware of ourselves and the world around you without judgment. Mindful eating is not a diet; it is the practice of embracing the positive aspects of eating and appreciating the food that we consume. This mentality allows us to nurture a healthy relationship with the food we eat.

Why should I be mindful of eating?

We live in a fast-paced society that values fast-food and multitasking. We also have a culture of glorifying thinness and dieting. These ideals can be toxic and harm our natural relationship with the food we eat. Eating can easily be treated as a chore or a guilty pleasure. Mindful eating, however, encourages us to savor and think about the food we eat. Simply by being aware of what we put into our bodies, we can learn more about our eating habits and prevent harmful behaviors associated with eating.

How to eat mindfully?

Eating is not only necessary, it should also be enjoyable. Mindful eating is simply appreciating the work of growing and preparing the food, while also enjoying every bite. We often overlook the importance of eating and think of it as something that we must control through dieting. Mindful eating encourages us to tune into our natural desires and knowledge about food. By truly paying attention to the food we buy and eat, we can balance our diets.

To be more mindful of the food that goes into your body, get rid of any distractions such as screens. This can be difficult, so start with small steps:
1. When grocery shopping, consider the health value of every item. Try to stay mostly in the produce sections and avoid the center aisles that have more processed foods.
2. Appreciate every bite. Before eating, reflect on the work that was put into growing and providing the meal.
3. Take small bites and chew slower. This will allow your taste buds to get a fuller taste. Appreciate the smell, texture, and appearance.
4. If time is a barrier, plan one meal a week to experiment with mindful eating. 5. Grow some herbs or replant food scraps in your kitchen or in a garden.

When to be mindful?

There are opportunities to be mindful when buying the ingredients, preparing food, eating meals, and processing our thoughts on food and body image.

Who should be eating mindfully?

Mindful eating is for everyone! Scientists have discovered that the mind and body work together to improve digestion by preventing overeating and bloating. Mindful eating is not a diet, but a way to enhance our experiences of eating.

References:

The Center for Mindful Eating:
https://www.thecenterformindfuleating.org/page-1863947
https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/8-steps-to-mindful-eating

By: Alicia Yang