Tired of diets that emphasize rules of eating and outcomes rather than the process? Mindful eating isn’t about carbohydrates, fat, counting calories, or anything else of the sort. This approach to food is more process-oriented and requires being present with each bite. By utilizing all your senses to acknowledge how your body responds without judgment, you gain a better awareness of the positive, nurturing opportunities made possible with food.
When you practice being in the moment, you are much likelier to be in tune with your body’s cues. For example, eating while distracted or for unhealthy reasons can lead to overeating because you may miss the signals from your body that you have eaten too much. An easy way to tell if you normally eat distracted is to try recalling your last meal. If you struggle to remember details such as taste, texture, and aroma, you may be distracted while you eat.
Sit down at a proper table while you eat, turn off any distraction, and most importantly, don’t fixate on your portion sizes or how many calories are in your food. By doing this, you are removing yourself from “mindless” eating and demonstrating more awareness and consciousness about the reasons you eat.
Eating mindfully begins with your first thought about food and ends when the final bite is swallowed. It requires a commitment to change your attitude regarding food and fosters trust in your own decisions. Now that you better understand mindful eating, let’s discuss a few ways to try practicing it at your next mealtime:
- Don’t judge yourself or the food. The first hurdle is typically setting aside past experiences and enjoying the “here and now.” Being aware of judgments is a critical element of mindfulness.
- Demonstrate patience by being present moment by moment. Rather than rushing through a meal to get on to your next chore, take more bites and slow down. This way, the experience of eating is allowed to unfold in a more mindful way.
- Approach this process as if it is your first time eating. When eating, check out your food, give it a taste, smell, or touch. This enables you to eat with a fresh perspective.
- Respect yourself and your experiences with food. No one will have the exact same experience with food so notice and appreciate how you react to different foods.
- Remember that mindful eating does not revolve around number-based outcomes, such as weight loss or calorie counting. There is no measurable outcome and no effort required to make something happen other than simply living in the moment.
- Leave your preconceived notions of diets and healthy eating at the door when stepping into mindful eating. By letting go of what we have attached to, we can experience the here and now of food without judgment.
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