How To Eat Mindfully

How to Practice Mindful Eating | exercise included | Dieting isn't the trick, mindful eating allows you to connect to your own body and it's needs

Healthy Life | October 18, 2017 | By

One of the most beneficial eating tools in my toolbox is eating mindfully. Practicing mindful eating allows you to feel greater satisfaction with what you’re eating, which empowers you to eat a more appropriate amount of food and feel satisfied with it. 

Since becoming a dietitian, my perspective on eating has changed. I moved from focusing on weight loss and food rules to turning to my own body, and encouraging my clients and patients to do the same. I wrote a bit about that here. Mindful eating isn’t a weight loss technique, it’s also not a calorie control technique. Mindful eating may be quite different from how you’re eating now, the point of it is to really tune into what you’re eating, your feelings, and your experiences while eating and at other times during the day.

While I’m no expert, I have realized a few things, and I work with my clients to increase mindfulness when they eat.

Through practicing mindful eating, I’ve realized that there are foods that I don’t really enjoy that I used to eat frequently, I’ve also been able to really enjoy the foods that I really like. Mindfulness fosters satisfaction and satisfaction is important because eating can be so enjoyable, it also allows us to be present and in the moment, and listen to our bodies to cue us to continue or stop eating depending on how we’re feeling.

I recently bought the Intuitive Eating workbook and took a simple mindful eating exercise and adapted it a bit to meet my clients’ needs. Here’s what we do:

  1. Choose a food you eat frequently
  2. Check-in before eating. Ask yourself how you feel before eating. Are you feeling excited, are you feeling dread, are you tired, are you hungry?
  3. Check-in while you’re eating. Explore the flavor, texture, and smell while eating slowly, does it taste good, does it taste different from what you remember? What else do you notice while eating?
  4. Check-in after you’re done eating. How was it? Do you feel satisfied? Did that food meet your expectations. Anything other feelings or thoughts?

Try it & comment or email me with what you experienced. Also remember that this is a practice, it takes time and repetition to eat mindfully. Also, even though I highly recommend eating mindfully, for most of us, it’s not something we can do always. Sometimes there isn’t time, sometimes we are in a situation where we can’t eat foods we really enjoy. That’s ok, try to find principles that you’ve learned from this exercise to incorporate into your usual eating. That’ll help a lot & bring a lot of insight.

21 Comments

  1. Abbey Sharp

    October 18, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    Love this awesome tips on mindful eating! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Reply
  2. Liz

    October 18, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Such great reminders here Rebecca! I need to try this next time I eat popcorn!

    Reply
    • Rebecca

      October 19, 2017 at 1:23 pm

      thanks Liz! and yes, haha I like to start with foods I really like & tend to eat mindlessly

      Reply
  3. Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner

    October 18, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    I have tried this before-it’s not so easy!! Thanks for the reminder

    Reply
    • Rebecca

      October 19, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      I feel ya! it’s so beneficial, but takes a lot of headspace for sure

      Reply
  4. Chrissy @ Snacking in Sneakers

    October 18, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    Love these tips! Sometimes I can be really in tune with my eating and mindful about it, and other times I’m scarfing down a few cookies in the car because I’m starving. I need to get better with this!

    Reply
    • Rebecca

      October 19, 2017 at 1:16 pm

      me too! I totally understand, you (we) can’t always be mindful

      Reply
  5. Rachel

    October 18, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    I actually do this quite frequently. Not purposefully. But I do take note of how foods make me feel!

    Reply
    • Rebecca

      October 19, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      yay for already doing this not purposefully! it’s great that it’s built into your normal eating patterns, try it purposefully one time & see how it’s different

      Reply
  6. Carmy

    October 18, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    Great tips! I try to remember how I feel the last time I had it.

    Reply
    • Rebecca

      October 19, 2017 at 12:30 pm

      that’s awesome!

      Reply
  7. Amy Gorin

    October 18, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    This is great info! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  8. Karen G.

    October 19, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    Great advice! Not always super easy to follow though. 😉
    Thanks for sharing

    Reply
    • Rebecca

      October 26, 2017 at 10:38 am

      so so true! I’m having to remind myself all the time to slow down and pay attention to what I’m eating

      Reply
  9. Tara @ a daily dose of fit

    October 19, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    So important! So many people forget to eat mindfully.

    Reply
    • Rebecca

      October 26, 2017 at 10:37 am

      including myself 🙂 it’s always a good reminder

      Reply
  10. The Weekender 10/21 - Oats & Rows

    October 21, 2017 at 5:33 am

    […] Shaming via The Real Life RD 5 Positive Affirmations to Brighten Your Day via A Cup of Catherine How to Practice Mindful Eating via Nourish Nutrition Blog Recognizing a Slump & Ways to Break Out of It via Erin’s Inside […]

    Reply
  11. Brittany Poulson

    October 26, 2017 at 8:51 am

    This is a good reminder to eat more mindfully, even for me! I sometimes forget to focus on my body and self when eating and just grab something because it’s there. I love the exercise you shared and will try it our next time I sit down to eat!

    Reply
    • Rebecca

      October 26, 2017 at 10:36 am

      I feel ya! and I’ve been using that exercise with clients & it’s been helpful for them

      Reply

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