The purpose of mindful eating is to reconnect to the joy of eating by becoming aware of your thoughts, emotions, feelings, and behaviors associated with the eating experience. Mindful eating helps identify the causes to eat (am I hungry or am I bored?), what am I in the mood for (sweet or salty?), how you feel after eating (satisfied or not satisfied?), and even your emotions during and after the meal. Mindful eating is a practice that takes time.
How do you begin mindful eating? Start by asking yourself simple questions throughout the meal. Some examples may include the following:
- Am I paying attention to my body’s hunger and satiety cues?
- What is driving me to eat — physical or emotional cues?
- How quickly am I eating?
- How would I describe the food?
- Does the food look appealing and how does it smell?
- Next, take a bite and be descriptive! What comes to mind as you notice the texture, temperature, and taste of the food?
Why is mindful eating helpful?
- You are learning your TRUE likes and dislikes without judgment of the food
- Have you ever eaten in front of a tv or too quickly and realize you didn’t even taste the meal? Mindful eating helps you feel satisfied by paying attention to all of your senses
- This helps with decreasing urges to binge and/or overeat
- You are reconnecting to your satiety senses — “mmmm that was tasty” rather than “I didn’t even realize I ate this bowl of ice cream and did I even enjoy it?”
- This decreases the need to go back for more or overeat as you are listening to your fullness cues and feeling satisfied
That being said, it is okay to over-indulge on occasion–if you want to!
Authored by Emily Baum, M.S., RDN, LD