Mindful vs. Mindless EatingThough this article is about mindful eating, I first want to talk with you about mindless eating. Mindless eating can be any of the following:
- Plowing through a meal in a matter of minutes
- Eating while driving
- Eating while walking
- Eating while chatting with another person
- Eating while reading
- Eating while watching TV
- Noshing on something after dinner because you were bored
- Eating as a way of dealing with stress
- Snacking on food as you are cooking a meal or putting leftovers away
- Grazing at a snack table during a party
Tips to Become a Mindful EaterIf you’ve been a mindless eater for most of your life, it will take practice to become a mindful eater. Here are some basic steps.
- Ask yourself: Why am I eating? How hungry am I? Is this food healthy?
- Eliminate distractions—phones, TVs, music. Eat in silence. Be ready to use all of your senses.
- Put your utensil down after taking a bite. Do not pick the utensil until you have swallowed your food.
- While chewing, think about the different flavors and textures. This will enhance them and make you enjoy them more.
- Chew each bite thoroughly and do not swallow until it is completely liquified.
- Do not rush your meal.
- Throughout your meal, continue to ask yourself why you are eating and how hungry you are.
- Stop eating when you are full.
How Mindful Eating Helps YouLet me be clear: Mindful eating is not a diet. It’s not about giving up any of your favorite foods. It’s doesn’t involve reading labels or counting points. It’s bigger than that. At its core, it’s about paying attention to everything about the food you are eating—what you are eating, why you are eating it, how much of it you are eating, where you are eating it, and so on. Eating mindfully means eating less. That’s because mindfully eating a meal will take longer than 20-30 minutes. It’s likely that during your meal, you will find yourself becoming full. That’s your cue to put the fork down and start packing up your leftovers. However, I encourage you to do this part quickly to avoid any mindless picking and grazing at the rest of your meal. Get it in your fridge and get on with the rest of your day feeling lighter and healthier. Mindful eating is proven to shed pounds effectively and permanently. It’s a testament of what we can do if we put our minds to it.
- Berman, Jae. “How a common meditation technique can help you eat more healthfully.” Washington Post. Published May 25, 2017.
- Gordinier, Jeff. “Mindful Eating as Food for Thought.” New York Times. Published Feb. 7, 2012.
- Delan, J., et al. “Pilot study: Mindful Eating and Living (MEAL): weight, eating behavior, and psychological outcomes associated with a mindfulness-based intervention for people with obesity.” National Institute for Health. Published November 2010.