Eating mindfully is about enjoying your food and understanding your body’s cues in relation to hunger, fullness, and satisfaction.
When we are children, we eat to satisfy our hunger. As we grow older, society influences our interpretation of foods, wreaking havoc with our ability to listen to what our body wants and needs. We often classify foods as distinctly “good” or “bad” depending on what diet we are currently following, and attach feelings of guilt or shame to certain foods. Conversely, we eat solely based on food’s taste, paying little attention to its nutritional value, or to eating for good health.
Try following these suggestions for mindful eating and see if your relationship with food changes.
1. Look at your plate before you dig in ~ Appreciate the visual appearance of your food, the way it smells, and how it will satisfy your body.
2. Only eat when you are hungry ~ This seems so simple, yet we often eat based on emotion, preconceived notions of when to eat (ie. Mealtime), or simply because the food is there.
3. Stop eating when you are full ~ Another obvious suggestion; however, we tend to not pay attention to our body while we are eating and have programmed ourselves to finish what’s on our plate.
4. Focus on each bite ~ Completely savour each mouthful of food. Finish what you have in your mouth, follow with a sip of water, and pause for a moment before you fill your fork again.
5. Put your mind on your meal ~ Eliminate distractions while you are eating. Turn off the television and put down the reading material.
Mindful eating is a lifestyle, not a diet. It is about having a healthy relationship with food, and eating according to our body’s signals. Eating with awareness enhances your eating experience as you savour food’s taste, texture, colour, smell, as well as how it interacts with the other foods on your plate. Mindful eating encourages one to eat less food, to feel more satisfied, and to make better nutritional choices.