What is mindful eating?
Mindful eating is being mindful of what you eat and how you eat and taking the time to enjoy the experience “noticing the colors, smells, flavors and textures” of food, and getting rid of distractions while eating. By doing so, we can often make better food choices and enjoy our meals so much more. A study in 2018 identified that a mindful eating approach helped to decrease overeating and emotional eating, improving the chance of weight loss without dieting.
What are the benefits?
When you focus on how you eat, it can help you to find enjoyment in eating, among other benefits including:
- Finding new foods to enjoy or enjoying and savouring the flavours of foods you already love
- Listen to your body better and identify when you start to feel full
- Chew your food thoroughly and help better the digestive process
5 ways to eat mindfully
- Eat when you are hungry
Listening to your body and knowing when it’s hungry can minimise the chances of eating just to fulfil time or feelings. This helps to avoid overeating and emotional eating. Take care though that the healthy snack between meals doesn’t turn into a binge session.
- Enjoy distraction-free eating
Most households would have a TV on during dinner or family members eating at different time or in different places. This step is about bringing everyone together (preferably at a dining table), removing all distractions to create a relaxed atmosphere, and focusing on what you are eating by involving others in the discussion. This improves connection to food and to family.
- Eat slowly and enjoy the flavours
Before eating, enjoy what your foods smells like, looks like. Engaging all the senses can help you appreciate the taste even more. It can also lead to enjoying new foods and flavours that you may not have tried before.
- Rest between bites
After eat mouthful, put down your utensils. You are more likely to chew your food thoroughly (better for your digestion) and it gives you time to assess whether you are becoming full.
- Enjoy your food more
The main goal of mindful eating is about enjoying the time spent while you are eating. So ditch any negative diets or foods that would take any positive experiences away from you. Having a healthy relationship with food is important.
To start practising mindful eating, change just one behaviour or habit at a time. This way you ease yourself into it and it becomes a simple transition.