We think about being “mindful” when it comes to our emotional and mental health, but it can also be applied to how we eat. During times of change or stress, it’s common to eat without even really thinking about it (all-day snacking, anyone?). Learning to eat mindfully can help lower stress, manage weight, improve digestive function, and give you more satisfaction from the food you eat!
Eat when hungry rather than emotional.
Know and understand your emotional triggers so you can deal with them productively. To test your hunger level, ask yourself, "Would I eat an apple (or a favorite fruit) right now?" If not, then your desire to eat may be driven by emotion rather than true hunger. If you’re physically hungry, ask yourself, "What am I hungry for? Something sweet? Salty? Crunchy? "
Chew slowly and turn your senses on.
Savor the look, taste, smell, and texture of every bite. Notice how your food looks, the aroma, the texture on your tongue, the flavor. Try chewing a bite with your eyes closed to heighten your other senses!
Simply focus your awareness on eating.
Be aware of your emotions when eating.
Especially notice if you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (think H.A.L.T) – these emotions can increase vulnerability with food choices.
Stop eating when you feel comfortable.
Leave some food on your plate if you don’t want it. Use a scale of 1 to 10 to gauge your fullness. 1 = Starving, 2-3 = Hungry, 5-6 = Comfortable, 9-10 = Stuffed. Nourish your body and meet your hunger needs without overstuffing yourself.
Recognize when you slip into mindless eating.
Be nonjudgmental with yourself. Practice self-compassion around your thoughts about food, your body, and your dietary choices. Make corrections to be mindful again when you can.
MINDFUL EATING CHALLENGE
Today be mindful of your pace. Notice how you eat. Quickly? Slowly? Intentionally and mindfully set the pace of your meal. Put your fork down between bites. Sit while you’re eating. Turn off all electronics. Chew slowly. Savor each bite. Enjoy!
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