4 Ways to Practice Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is a practice of becoming more aware of what and how much you eat. It’s not a fad diet, which are short-sighted approaches to eating. It is a long term approach to eating and forming a relationship with food. If this sounds like something you’d like to try, here are 4 ways to practice mindful eating every day.

You sit down in front of the television or computer with your favorite snack, intending to eat one serving, but before you even know what’s happened the entire bag or pint is gone. And you have no real recollection of tasting or even enjoying it. You seem to have eaten the whole thing on autopilot. Is this a scenario you relate to?

This is how many of us eat every meal of every day, without any awareness of the food or how much we eat of it. This is mindlesseating.

What is it, and How Do I Practice Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating is exactly what it sounds like – it is a practice of becoming more aware of what and how much you eat. It is not a fad diet, which are short-sighted approaches to eating, and there are no specific recipes to follow.

Instead, mindful eating is a long-term approach to eating. It’s about forming a relationship with your food, not being controlled by food. When you eat mindfully, you taste and savor each and every bite.

If this sounds like something you’d like to try, here are 4 ways to practice mindful eating every day:

1. Mindfully Consume. In Sight – In Mind

You know the old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind?” Well the opposite is also true – the food we see we tend to want to eat. If you keep tempting foods on your kitchen counter, then you are going to grab one (or more) when you pass by, when your blood sugar is low, or you need a snack. Try keeping all of your food in one place so you can make a mindful decision about what you’re craving.

2. Stop Multitasking. One thing at a time.

How often do you just eat and only eat? Stop eating in front of the television, and stop eating at your computer. And if you absolutely must work through your lunch break, try alternating between tasks so you can focus on one entirely at a time.

For instance, focus on writing and sending that email, then switch tasks and spend a full minute or two on eating your lunch, savoring each bite. Then switch to another task, and back to eating and so on.

3.  Chew. Slow Down

What’s the rush? Too many of us wolf down our food, then wonder why we feel so sick. Pace yourself and chew every bite. In your mind as you chew, repeatedly tell yourself to slow down. Eventually, slow, purposeful eating will become an ingrained habit, but in the beginning you need to train yourself.

4.  Gauge Your Hunger

How hungry are you when you begin to eat? Are you even hungry at all, or are you eating as an emotional response to something?

Before you dive into your next meal, gauge your real hunger level on a scale of 1-10. What do you need to get to where you’re comfortably full? Are you eating because you’re hungry or because you’re in a bad mood and looking for comfort?

Simple. Not easy, per se, but it will become easier with practice.

Try to incorporate these tips into your everyday life. You will be surprised how mindful eating can change your entire life, from the size clothes you wear, to your health, to how in control you feel in other areas of your life.

If your mindful journey helps you to uncover certain food or emotional experiences you’d like to explore further, please contact me. At DMHC, we have worked with many people to help them heal their relationship with food. We would be happy to discuss how we may be able to help you. Contact us today.

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