How To Start Mindful Eating
Why Eat Mindfully?
Mindfulness is the act of focusing on what is happening in the moment. Mindful eating is the “how” of eating. It’s allowing yourself to pay attention to your body’s cues so you know when to start and stop eating. Eating mindfully can improve your relationship with food, decrease overeating, help you distinguish between emotional and physical hunger and aid in digestion. It allows you to feel in control so that you can enjoy the experience of eating so much more! Here are mindful eating tips to get you started.
Mindful Eating Tips To Help You Eat Mindfully
- Sit Down and Avoid Distractions
- Avoid eating on-the-go or multi-tasking during a meal. Sit at the table to eat and avoid distractions such as TV, phone, iPad or computer. Eating at the table will help you to tune in to what and how much you are eating. If you consistently eat all meals and snacks at the table, you will be less likely to eat on auto-pilot.
- Eat Slowly
- Chew each mouthful 20-30 times. Put your cutlery down on your plate between mouthfuls to slow down your eating. Make sure you have chewed and swallowed the food before you once again pick up your fork or spoon. Chew the food very well before swallowing. Stop eating halfway through your meal and ask yourself where you are on the Hunger Scale? If you are at 6 – 7, you are full enough, if you are still at 4 – 5, continue eating.
- Before you reach for that snack, ask yourself, “How hungry am I?”. Remember that eating for anything other than physical hunger, will not satisfy your emotional needs. If on the scale you are between 3-4, go ahead and eat. Any higher number on the scale means you are not yet hungry enough to eat and may want food for other reasons.
- Taste and Savour
- Speed eating and eating on autopilot deprives your senses of actually enjoying, tasting and celebrating the food. Taking time to see, smell, taste and swallow the food will give you a new appreciation for what you are eating.
- Eat to Your Fullness
- Stop eating when you are at 6-7 on the Hunger Scale. If you always finish everything on your plate, start leaving a little bit of food, even if it’s a forkful, while at the same time listening to your satiety cues. This will help to program your mind that it is ok to leave food on the plate.
To learn more about taking control of your hunger and appetite, read our latest blog post on “How To Manage Your Hunger and Cravings.“