What is mindful eating?
Mindful eating is learning to pay attention. Instead of eating mindlessly, putting food into your mouth almost unconsciously, not really tasting the food you’re eating. Instead you notice your thoughts, feelings, and sensations as you eat.
You learn to pay attention to:
- Why you feel like eating, and what emotions or needs might be triggering the eating.
- What you’re eating, and whether it is healthy or not.
- The look, smell, taste and texture of the food you’re eating.
- How it makes you feel as you taste it, as you digest it, and throughout the day.
- How full (or satisfied) you are before, during and after eating.
- Your emotions during and after eating.
- Where the food came from, who might have grown it, how much it might have suffered before it was killed, whether it was grown organically, how much it was processed, how much it was fried or overcooked etc.
- Who you eat it with and the social aspect of it. Notice your thoughts, feelings, and sensations.
The Benefits of Mindful Eating:
- You learn to eat when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re full.
- You learn to really taste food, and to enjoy the taste of healthy food.
- You slowly start to realise that unhealthy food isn’t as tasty as you thought, nor does it make you feel very good.
- As a result of the above, you will often lose weight if you’re overweight.
- You begin to sort through any emotional issues you have around food and eating. This takes a bit longer, but it’s important.
- Social overeating becomes less of a problem – you can eat mindfully while socialising, with practice, and not overeat.
- You begin to enjoy the eating experience more, and as a result enjoy life more when you’re more present.
- It can become a mindfulness ritual you look forward to.
- You learn how food affects your mood and energy throughout the day.
- You learn what food best fuels your exercise and work and play.
You become a great role model of mindful eating that shows that eating is about more than just filling you up!
Get the family involved and eat mindfully together – don’t just ‘dig into’ the food – take some time to make sure everybody is sitting – look at the food (the colours, the smell etc.) where the ingredients came from, who cooked it. Comment on the taste, colours etc.
The ParentingSuccess Team wishes you all the best