Eating is the ingestion of food and an activity of daily living. It is a natural, healthy and pleasurable activity for satisfying hunger. Mindful eating is eating with intention and attention. Eating with intention of caring for yourself. Eating with attention necessary for noticing and enjoying your foods and the effects it has on your body. Mindful eating allows you to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation by respecting your own inner wisdom.
With eating mindlessly, you’re just putting food into your mouth almost unconsciously, not really tasting the food you’re eating.
Paying attention with mindful eating
- Recognising when your body just needs water – example, most people snack instead of reaching for water. So, before you realise you have consumed unhealthy and unnecessary calories in one sitting.
- Pay attention to the textures and the flavours. How does it makes you feel during and after eating?
- Pay attention to what you’re eating – is it healthy or not? Make those choices that support health and well-being.
- How full (or sated) you are before, during and after eating? Where does the food come from, who might have grown it, how much may it have suffered before it was killed, whether it was grown organically and how much it was processed. Was it fried or overcooked? You need to pay attention to the little details.
- Whenever you notice you feel like eating – pause and ask the question, “Am I hungry?” This brings awareness, responsibility and helps empower you to break old habits.
W.W.W.H.H of eating
Developed by Michelle May M.D, CSP, a physician and a mindful eating speaker, this cycle is your guide to mindful eating.
- Why do I eat? Or in other words, what is driving my eating cycle at any given time?
- When do I feel like eating? When do I think about eating? When do I decide to eat?
- What do I eat? What do I choose from all the available options?
- Where do I invest the energy I consume? Where does the fuel I’ve consumed go?
- How do I eat? How, specifically, do I get the food I’ve chosen into my body?
- How much? How much do I eat? How much fuel do I consume?
Benefits of mindful eating
- You become aware of food choices and eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re sated.
- You become aware of how to really taste food, and enjoy the taste of healthy food.
- You slowly start to realise that unhealthy food isn’t as tasty as you thought, nor does it make you feel good.
- If you’re overweight you begin to lose weight.
- You become aware and can sort through the emotional issues you have around food and eating.
- You make changes to social overeating as it becomes less of a problem – with practice you can eat mindfully while socialising.
- You become more present and more in control of eating.
- You awaken to how food affects your mood and energy throughout the day.
This is being mindful. It’s not acquired overnight but takes practice. Remember we are all on a