We’re accustomed to hearing the word ‘mindfulness’ applied to meditation, but have you ever considered what it means to be a mindful eater?
The principle is the same as in meditating – the idea being that you are fully present in the moment and aware (and in control of) your emotions.
I’ve written before about my issues with emotional eating. It’s something I’ve struggled with my whole life so I’m not exactly the poster girl for mindful eating.
But I want to be. And, with the help of some hard-earned wisdom, I’m getting better at it.
I’m sharing some tips below but feel free to add your own advice in the comments.
Why eat mindfully?
Eating mindfully is essentially eating without distractions. It means eating slowly, tasting the food and savouring every bite.
Slowly working through your meal in this way helps digestion, which can prevent heartburn, indigestion, bloating and constipation.
It also makes you more aware of what your body is telling you – whether it’s had enough, if it has issues with a certain food etc
Mindful eating prevents emotional eating. If you’re really present during your meal, you can’t help but notice if it’s sadness, anger, disappointment or boredom fueling your need to eat, rather than plain old hunger.
How to eat mindfully
Ok, so it seems pretty self-explanatory. You sit down and eat slowly, right?!
Well yes, but there’s a bit more to it than that.
There’s a book called ‘When You Eat At The Refridgerator, Pull Up A Chair‘ by Geneen Roth. I’ve never read this book so I can’t comment on how good it is, but I love that title.
When you eat, sit down to it. Don’t sneak bites while your attention is caught by the TV, a book, a magazine. Allow yourself to pull up a chair.
And it’s not just about getting rid of distractions. If, like me, you’re the type that inhales food rather than eating it, slow down. Make sure you chew every bite fully before swallowing.
Check in with yourself throughout the meal. You should be asking your belly questions like: “Have you had enough?”, “How does that taste?”, “Do you want more of that?”
If your belly is anything like mine, you might get a non-commital response, but perservere and you’ll get better at listening.
- The New York Times has a great feature on the buddhist philosophy behind it and how it can help sufferers of eating disorders.
- Berkeley University offers 7 concise tips
- And Eating Mindfully sets a 10-day challenge to get you started (in the form of a cute infographic…who doesn’t love infographics?)
Weigh in: Are you an emotional eater? Have you any tips you can add to the above? What are your worst eating habits? Do you pull a chair up to the fridge?
Like this? You might also like:
- The Great Meditation Experiment
- A Calorie is not just a Calorie, and Other Dietary Myths Dispelled
- 30 Things I Know About Health, Now That I’m 30
This post was also shared at Party Wave Wednesday