10/8/2020 0 Comments
What is mindful eating? Mindful eating stems significantly from the concepts around mindfulness, a Buddhist tradition and common practise. Now you may be thinking, oh boy, Buddhism and mindfulness quick change the channel. Or maybe you are thinking, hang on, what has this got to do with my food and what I am eating? And believe me, as a young dietitian I never thought I would be drawing on principles of mindfulness to help people with nutrition. However, if we look at it from a different perspective all we are simply doing is allowing people to re-establish their ability to do what they already could;
-Know when to eat
-Know what to eat
-Know how much to eat and,
-Know how to tell they are full
The concepts around mindful eating aim to teach people how to re-connect with their own internal hunger and fullness cues. Your body is wired to support you. You have natural triggers such as knowing when to go to the toilet, when to drink some water or when to eat and when to stop. Unlike the first two, hunger and fullness cues unfortunately have been lost over time with little attention payed to them. With both non-judgemental hunger and fullness awareness, combined with the in the moment focus on the act of eating, mindful eating aims to re-wire this natural response.
Sounds simple sure, but I ask you, are you truly paying attention when you eat? Are all the senses being put to work; touch, taste, smell, sight and sound, truly exploring the food in front of you in a non-judgmental way. Do you find sometimes you could be in front of the TV snacking one-minute, the next minute your show has finished and the whole bag is empty, or you have got up to get more without realising you ever left the couch? Often distractions can be a blessing and a curse preventing us from being truly aware of eating. Mindful eating combined with hunger awareness improves your body’s natural ability to stop eating and truly enjoy the food that was just eaten.
Have a go: Grab a food item, a snack food is often a good option such a chocolate or piece of fruit. Now take as much time as you can. Think about what it took for the food to get in front of you, feel it, smell it and taste it. Take your time, what does the food look like, explore where you are and listen to the sounds around you. Do this in a completely non-judgmental way. If a thought comes to mind let it come, let it go and keep exploring the food. Once consumed imagine where it is going. Think of what this food is doing for you and your body. Likely it is providing you with energy. I imagine it has brought you some joy to eat it too. Do any memories come to mind from this food?
Then, pick another food and eat it as you usually would. Any difference?
Head to the resources page to download the guided mindful eating audio.