Mindful Eating: Implementing the Practice
On the Center for Mindful Eating website it states, “Awareness of the moment is where change can begin”. Being mindful and aware of your surroundings without judgement applies to many areas of life, one of which is mindful eating. When someone practices mindful eating, they acknowledge the food they have chosen for taste and nourishment, let go of any judgement about the food and accept their experience whether positive, negative, or neutral, and listen to their body for hunger and satiety as guidance in starting and finshing their meal.
If you can relate to any of these situations, Mindful Eating can help:
- Have you ever eaten chips or pretzels from the bag and all of a sudden realized your halfway through the bag? At this point you may even feel uncomfortably full but you don’t feel satisfied because you zoned out for the experience of enjoying your snack.
- Everytime you take a bite of a peanut butter cup or piece of chocolate you have an overwhelming urge to keep eating and feel out of control.
- You eat at least one meal a day on the go, either standing up or in the car, and finish in five minutes.
- You cannot remember the last time you left food on your plate because you finish the portion you serve yourself.
- The only time you know when to stop eating is when you are uncomfortably full.
Here is an example of how to structure a mindful eating experience so you can start to incorporate this into your life. It will be a useful tool whether you are trying to improve your health or lose weight.
- Put your meal or snack together.
- Find a quiet place to sit away from outside distractions.
- Sit for a few minutes and observe the food in front of you. “I have a green apple with crunchy peanut butter to dip”. If you have any judgements about the food, whether a positive memory or negative label, acknowledge it but let it go.
- Take a bite. Think about the taste, texture, and smell. Use non judgement words: sweet, salty, sour, crunchy, soft, rich, etc. Avoid words like greasy, enjoyable, unenjoyable, gross, etc. Think about how the taste changes from the first bite until you swallow or if the taste changes after a few bites.
- Stop when satisfied.
It is very difficult to be mindful every meal, but think about the times in your day when you are often unmindful. How does this affect your food choices, how much you eat, or how you feel? Try to include 1-2 minutes of mindful eating at the beginning of these meals. Some general tips to slow down your meals are:
- Sit down at a table or at your desk.
- Eat from a plate not out of a container.
- Cut down the distractions: no television or turn off the phone
- Try to increase the time you give yourself for meals. Try to work up to 15-20 minutes minimum.
Tags: , Eating, Food, Health, intuitive eating, karen diaz rd, mindful eating, online dietitian, online nutritionist, Taste