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Mindful Eating is Eating with Intention and Attention

Mindful Eating is Eating with Intention and Attention

Eating is a natural, healthy, and enjoyable activity, when it’s done to satisfy hunger. Although, how many of us actually slow down enough to think about what we are putting into our mouths? If you are mindful about what and how you eat, this will help you to not overeat or eat the wrong foods. 

Mindful eating makes it possible for you to experience the difference between physical satisfaction and fullness. Mindful eating causes you to feel more satisfied with smaller quantities of food. Learning to savor your food simply makes eating more pleasurable. Knowing what satisfies you and getting the most pleasure from your eating experiences are key factors for a lifetime of weight control. 

Here are some steps that will help you eat more mindful:

  • Start by recognizing whether you're hungry before you begin eating. You won’t be as interested if you’re not hungry. If a craving doesn't come from hunger, eating will never satisfy it. Journal your feelings when you have the urge to eat. Are you bored, tired or depressed? If one of these is the case, then find something positive to get your mind off of food. Take a walk, call a friend, or exercise.

  • Don't wait until you're famished. One of the keys to conscious eating is to keep your body adequately fed to avoid becoming overly hungry which increases the chance that you'll overeat. Eating 5-6 times a day keeps you from feeling hungry and increases your appetite. Just make sure you’re eating low glycemic, healthy foods.

  • Choose food that will satisfy both your body and your mind. Satisfaction comes not just from fullness but from enjoying the taste of your food--without guilt. Feeling guilty about eating certain foods actually causes more overeating, not less. If you are eating vegetables, fruit, protein and whole grains, you are giving your body what it needs. If you are filling up on candy, soda and potato chips, you are depriving your body and will continue to fill hungry.

  • Eat without distractions. If you eat while you're watching television, driving, or talking on the phone, you won't be giving your food or your body's signals your full attention. As a result, you may feel unsatisfied.

  • Savor your food as you eat it. Put your fork down between bites and be conscious of all the different sensations you are experiencing. Eat slowly and enjoy conversation. 
    Once you've experienced the increased pleasure from mindful eating, you may be motivated to become more mindful during other activities too. Living "in the moment" will help you to enjoy life, be less stressed, and become overall happier and healthier.