What is mindful eating?
Coach Cory, RDN, LDN, NBC-HWC
Have you ever mindlessly polished off a bag of snacks and before you know it, they’re all gone, leaving you thinking, “Did I really just finish those?” This common experience is known as distracted or mindless eating. With mindless eating, you are disconnected from the eating experience. You might start eating because it's a typical mealtime or because food is simply available. You might eat quickly and stop eating when your food is gone, then realize that you didn’t really taste any of it and reach for more.
The opposite of mindless eating is mindful eating. With mindful eating, you are tuned into your hunger and fullness signals and you stop eating when your body or taste buds tell you you’ve had enough. Research shows that eating mindfully - which includes slowing down and savoring each bite - can increase satiety levels, making you less likely to overeat.
So, what does it mean to be mindful? Simply put, mindfulness is being in the present moment and enjoying things as they happen. You can practice mindful eating by paying attention to your hunger and fullness level, setting aside time to enjoy your meals, and creating a mealtime setting that is calm and comfortable.
Below are some ideas to help make your meal more mindful:
- Make time for enjoyment at mealtime, even if it's only for a portion of the meal. Try not to multitask, and avoid distractions as much as possible.
- Get comfortable - whatever that looks like for you. This could be at a table, a picnic blanket, or just about anywhere.
- Chew slowly and put your food or utensils down between bites. Notice which bites tasted the best. Eating slowly helps your brain register your fullness, which can take up to 20 minutes. An added benefit of this approach is better digestion!
- Engage your senses. Take a moment to truly observe your plate, including the aroma and food textures. Since you eat with your eyes first, making your meals and snacks look as appealing as they taste can increase satiety. Try sipping your smoothie out of your favorite glass and incorporate as many colors on your plate as you can!
Mindful eating can be such an empowering experience, and the observations you make from paying attention to your mindfulness can be truly eye-opening! Reach out to your Kannact Health Coach today and set some mindful eating goals!