Mindful eating is defined as “paying attention to an eating experience with all of our senses (seeing, tasting, hearing, smelling, and feeling) and witnessing the emotional and physical responses that take place before, during, and after the eating experience”.
As stated in Mindful Eating, Harvard Health Letter: “Mindfulness is a Buddhist practice. It means that you are fully aware of what is going on within and around you”. When that practice is applied to food it creates a eating practice that is relaxed, free of distractions, and wholesome. The outcomes of mindful eating come with great benefits too. I’ve noticed that I feel overall healthier and more in control of my eating habits when I chose to eat mindfully. Because I have mindfully fueled myself with wholesome foods, I become more accepting of the way I look.
I think that mindful eating can be the solution to:
- being stuck in the dieting circle
- feeling negative about eating foods you weren’t supposed to have
- body image acceptance
- binge eating
- and feeling low on energy
There are plenty of reasons to eat mindfully! I wanted to share what mindful eating means to me and how I approach it.
I pay attention to what my mind is saying
Thoughts come and go in and out of my mind all the time and a lot of those thoughts have something to do with food. I try to be extra mindful when it comes to the ones about food. If I catch myself with lots of thoughts about eating I consider that it might be time to fuel myself. Time doesn’t play a role in my eating habits because I eat intuitively. Sometimes I crave certain foods and textures. I try to be accommodating in my diet towards what my mind is asking for.
I think that food you are happy to eat goes farther than food you might not care for. This is why diets are so hard to maintain. Because it feels like you HAVE to eat healthy all the time.
I remind myself that I am not dieting and I can mindfully indulge in all foods
I can have anything I want as long as I am respectful towards my body. I don’t need 10 Oreos to enjoy what Oreos taste like. If I do want something fried or coated in sugar I remind myself that it’s okay to have something like that. There is no saying “no” when it comes to food unless saying “no” will make you feel better than having a couple of bites. I know this concept sounds confusing but when you are paying attention to what is going into your body it becomes very clear how much you need something.
When I can, I rid of distractions
Unless I have dished out a portion of food that makes me feel comfortable and sustained I try not to eat in front of my phone, computer, TV, or around situations that make me feel any kind of negative emotions. When I eat while distracted I know for a fact I don’t enjoy the food I am consuming to the full extent. This can also factor into overeating. I notice that when I am around things that distract me I reach for the food without even thinking about the action being made. That’s not healthy!
Something I learned in class that I kept close to me was the fact that if you eat when you are in any kind of distress what is being consumed will not be digested as well as if you were at peace when you ate. Simply put, this is because your body is putting more effort into stabilizing your negative emotions than it is digesting.
Mindful eating to me is a long term lifestyle change
I have been aware of the foods I intake for so long that it’s become a habit to listen to my body, eliminate distraction, and eat what makes me feel good. This is a long term change I have made and kept active in my mind because it makes me feel sane when it comes to diet. Unlike a diet, I can eat what I want without feeling restricted to guidelines. There is no circling back and forth from diet to “forget it,” since I am choosing to be considerate towards myself. I feel healthy on the inside when I take these things into mind
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Writer: Vanessa is a blog and newsletter writer who inspires to create content that others can grow with. Inspire by doing. That is a phrase she lives by. In her free time, she likes to nap, journal, hang out, and cook.