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:
- Choose a food you eat frequently
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.