Mindful eating

Mindfulness is about paying attention, deliberately and non-judgmentally

With practice, mindfulness may cultivate the possibility of freeing yourself of reactive, habitual patterns of thinking, feeling and acting. This practice can be applied to any area of your life. You may find that applying these principles to eating may help improve your relationship with food.

Mindful eating helps remove judgment surrounding your food choices. It encourages individuality within your choices. Bringing awareness to the here and now can help you be present and pay attention to the eating experience. It can help you notice your hunger cues. In this process, you are the expert, making choices from a place of inner guidance vs. external cues. Mindfulness may help you move from unconscious, reactive behaviors to awareness, which can be the first step in making a positive change.

Mindful eating questions

Mindful eating encourages you to ask:
  • why do I eat?
  • when do I eat?
  • what do I eat?
  • how do I eat?
  • how much do I eat?
  • where do I eat?

Mindful eating tips for success

Ideas to support mindful eating:
  • Purchasing single portion foods
  • Eating on smaller plates
  • Awareness of triggers
  • Placing unhealthy foods out of sight

Mindful eating techniques

Mindful eating actions to try:

  • Taking smaller bites
  • Putting down your utensil between bites
  • Setting a time for 20 minutes to slow down the eating process
  • Treating the meal as a self-care ritual

What's your personal hunger scale?

Creating a personal hunger scale ranging from 0 (the most hungry) to 10 (the least hungry) and becoming aware of what a 0 feels like physically when you’re extremely hungry and what a 10 feels like may provide you with valuable information to guide the eating process.

Support for practicing mindful eating

Research supports mindful eating interventions for binge eating, emotional eating, and for diabetes management.1

Mindful eating is an art and skill. It may become easier and more natural with practice. Having patience and compassion is key.

Footnotes

  1. Today’s Dietician: Mindful Eating — Studies Show This Concept Can Help Clients Lose Weight and Better Manage Chronic Disease; Vol. 15 No. 3; https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/030413p42.shtml; accessed 3/6/2019.