Mindful eating is the ability to focus your attention on your meal as you eat it. This includes having awareness of your food choices as well as paying attention to the experience of eating itself, such as how the food tastes, its texture, etc.
Eating mindfully and with full awareness is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Why?
First, research shows that distracted eating may lead to eating much more than we need to, which can cause weight gain.
In addition, food is a very important part of life! When we bring our full attention to every meal without distraction or judgement, we can cultivate more appreciation for the experiences, sensations, and connections that food gives us.
Below are a few tips to help you cultivate a more mindful relationship with food.
- Before opening the refrigerator or cupboard, ask yourself: Are you really hungry or are you bored or stressed? Taking a brief pause to check in with your body in this way can bring a lot of insight into your eating habits.
- Minimize distractions by eating at the dinner table with the TV turned off and your cell phone silenced and put away.
- Try to set a goal to spend at least 20 minutes eating your meals to allow you time to have awareness and appreciation for them.
- Try setting your fork on the table after every bite to focus on tasting each bite, rather than focusing on taking the next one.
TIP: Eating while multitasking with work or while watching TV can lead to overeating and weight gain. Try to minimize distractions, slow your eating, and enjoy your food to the fullest.