What is mindful eating?
It is the intention and practice of the act of eating, all by itself, with no distraction. No, it’s not dieting. No, it’s not a weight loss goal (although it can lead to weight loss). Instead, it’s a conscious desire to create a healthy relationship with the food you eat.
It’s easy for food to become a major source of guilt, due to the obsession with healthy eating, or weight loss. But what perpetuates unhealthy eating habits isn’t just about the kind of food you eat. It’s how you eat it.
Mindful eating connects you to the joy of eating, without the emotional baggage. Follow these steps to begin engaging with food in a healthy way:
1. Think Before You Eat. Before you sit down to take that bite, do a little interview with yourself: Are you in a bad mood, or are you in a present, grateful mood? Are you wishing you were thousands of miles away? If you’re struggling with a negative emotional mood – register that information – don’t eat just because you’re in a bad mood. Try and address this first, consciously – take a walk, do something else – mindfully.
2. Rate Your Hunger. As you continue to inteview yourself and gauge your emotions, check in with how hungry you are. Are you 50% hungry? Are you 100% hungry? Give your hunger a rating. Then prepare and eat accordingly.
3. Minimise Distractions. It’s best to eat in silence. No TV in the background, no laptop in front of you. Just you and your meal. This allows you to engage your senses and enjoy the act of eating. The sight, smells, sounds and of course the taste.
4. Take Your Time Eating. Imagine you are stranded on a remote island, enjoying your meal. You have no appointments to keep, no schedule to adhere to. You’ve got all the time in the world. Giving yourself this room to chew and enjoy your food brings your mind and body to a place of harmony and engagement, necessary for healthy digestion.