We’ve all been there: Scoffed down our lunch in rush whilst scrolling Instagram and then wondered where did it all go, and how it tasted.
When it comes to mealtimes many of us could benefit from slowing down our intake and incorporating the practise ‘mindful eating’.
What is mindful eating?
Being mindful is about focusing your attention and awareness on the present moment to help disconnect from habitual, unsatisfying and harmful habits and behaviours. This approach applies strategies which can help change the way we respond to food both physically and emotionally. Adopting a mindful eating mentality involves:
- Choosing to eat foods that are both pleasing and nourishing to the body by using your senses to taste and savour.
- Acknowledging responses to food without judgement
- Being aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide decisions to begin and stop eating
- Being aware of the positive opportunities for food preparation and consumption
- Identifying personal triggers for mindless eating.
Research studies show that mindful eating may help people control binge and overeating, along with enjoying food and feeling more in touch with the body’s internal cues and signals. Many of us may not be aware of the reasons why we engage in mindless eating, but it’s important to be aware of these to be able to correct them.
Some common contributors can be:
- Not stopping to listen to what your body signals are telling you
- Confusing hunger with thirst
- Allowing yourself to get too hungry, resulting in quick and over eating
- Eating in response to emotion
Mindful eating techniques can help to reduce the likely hood of overeating. These include:
- Before eating asking yourself a few basic questions; am I hungry? Am I thirsty?
- Being in the present (3 deep breaths) before beginning to eat
- Eat slowly, and paying attention to the smell, taste, sound, texture and look of the food.
- Eat without distractions (phone, TV) and avoid working and eating
- Stop eating just before you feel full and wait 10-20 minutes before eating more if you are still hungry
- Enjoy your meal. If you don’t enjoy eating you will never be satisfied
Mindful eating is a practice many of us can benefit from to help us enjoy our food and build better and more positive relationships with food that our body loves.