You eat breakfast in the car while hurrying to work, chow down lunch at your desk while finishing a few emails, scarf a quick afternoon snack at the vending machine, and devour dinner at home while leafing through a magazine. If this sounds like you—you may need a lesson in Mindful Eating.
The word mindful means to be aware and conscious. So, it only makes sense that Mindful Eating is all about being aware of the food we’re eating as well as being in touch with our hunger and fullness. It’s about noticing the colors, smells, textures, flavors, temperatures, and even the sounds (crunch!) of our food.
Think about the last time you truly enjoyed a meal. Chances are, you weren’t at the computer or in the car. In order to practice Mindful Eating, it’s crucial to elminate all distractions while eating. Being fully in-the-moment puts the focus on slowing down, savoring the meal, and stopping when we’re full.
Additionally, Mindful Eating is about acceptance. When we can accept our bodies and let go of the preoccupation with dieting and losing weight, we can sincerely enjoy our food. How can we hope to make healthy choices when we’re constantly criticizing and judging ourselves? How can we take pleasure in our food when we categorize it as “good” or “bad?” Accepting our bodies and acknowledging that our self-worth is determined by a number of things and not just by our pant size, will contribute to a much healthier relationship with food.
The benefits of Mindful Eating are endless. It not only also leads us to appreciate and value the food that we eat, but it helps us to eat less! Being present while eating helps us to become full and satisfied quicker and eat less over all.
Once we can master these things, we’ll then be able to make healthier choices.
Where to start:
At your next meal, try to really taste your food. Smell it, chew it, and enjoy it. Eliminate all distractions like the TV, the computer, or the phone. Pay attention to your fullness and put your fork down in between bites. Spend at least 20 minutes eating. Take smaller bites and be thankful for the food in front of you.
For more information, visit the Center for Mindful Eating http://www.tcme.org/about.htm.
Sandy Sfikas is a registered dietitan, who in addition to seeing clients, is the editor of a international diabetes magazine. She has both a nutrition and journalism degree and is a health/nutrition writer, blogger, and group speaker. She’s worked in clinical settings as well as in health clubs. She prides herself on helping people make realistic changes to their current eating habits and food repertoires. She feels fortunate to have a career and clients that motivate her to continue to advance her knowledge of nutrition and wellness.