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3 Simple Steps to Make Mindful Eating work for you

Updated: Dec 23, 2020

It can be a challenge to eat healthy. The overload of information on healthy eating may be confusing and burdensome.

Most people know that vegetables are healthy and bacon is not, but cutting out bacon altogether does something to the brain. It tells us that we aren’t satisfied. We want the bacon and we know we aren’t getting it. Eventually, our resolve breaks and we eat bacon- a LOT of it.

There is an easier way to make sure we eat healthy and it is called mindful eating. Mindful eating is based on the concept of mindfulness. This idea is the technique of mastering awareness of our senses and emotions to help us be in control of our habits.

It’s no secret that food can be connected to our feelings. With problems like binge eating, emotional eating, external eating and other eating disorders, mindful eating has been shown to help treat these problems. 

Why mindful eating?

Compared to the fad diets out there, mindful eating isn’t just a band aid for your unhealthy eating habits, it’s a sustainable fix. Once you retrain yourself to eat healthy, and make new habits to support that, you don’t have to make dieting a part of your life. Healthy eating just comes naturally.

Fad diets might help you lose weight quickly but have been proven to end up with regaining all the weight lost. This yo-yo dieting is dangerous to your health (Read more

There are numerous studies that show mindful eating to be a long term solution to obesity and eating habits that lead to obesity. 

Mindful eating makes you more aware of your food at every stage of the eating habit. From the time you consider what to eat, to going to the grocery store and buying the food, to preparing and finally enjoying the taste of your food, you will be more aware and in tune with your food. 

This cognitive connection to your food helps you to not only make better eating decisions but also enjoy your food and appreciate the nutritional value of it. 

Would you like to take advantage of the benefits of mindful eating?

Write a grocery list. 

Have you ever gone to the grocery store fully intending to buy healthy foods but come out of the store with empty carbs and sugary foods? This could have been avoided if you sat down for a few minutes before you left for the store and was mindful of the foods that would deliver the most nutrition to your body. Write down this list of foods and bring it with you to the store.

Know your weaknesses - conscious choices

When deciding to be more mindful of your eating habits there are a few key steps that will ensure your success.

It’s important to know your weaknesses. If you just can’t get enough French fries, then this would be a good starting point. Eliminate this bad habit by replacing your French fries with healthier options like sweet potato fries or zucchini fries. This doesn’t mean that you can’t ever have French fries. Allow yourself a treat once a month of fries.

When deciding to be more mindful of your eating habits there are a few key steps that will ensure your success. 

Portion control - hunger level awareness

The best time to stay in control of your eating habits is before you get so hungry that you’d eat anything placed in front of you but hungry enough to really enjoy your food. Another way to remind yourself that you don’t need to eat so much is to use small plates and small portions. You can always go back for seconds if you need to but many of us have been taught by our parents that leaving food on our plate is bad manners and we will eat what we put on our plate out of habit.

Tasting the food - senses awareness

Engage your senses.The process of cooking and eating foods should engage most of the senses. Unfortunately, many of us are so busy that we don’t stop and appreciate the smell, color, and even the taste of our food. Mindful eating includes chewing slowly and tasting each flavor of the food with delight. Take small bites and chew slowly, putting your fork down between bites. This slow and methodical method of eating allows your body to absorb the most from your food, not just nutritionally but also emotionally. Remember this is a journey, not a singular task.

Play this game:

  • Pick your favorite dish e.g. Chicken Caesar salad

  • Ask your significant other to improvise and make one with ingredients of choice

  • Taste it and record everything you were able to sense including the salad dressing

  • Progress to baked/sautéed dishes

The more tastes you master to sense the more appreciation you will gain and eat slower while enjoying the process of eating. This method of eating allows for a heightened awareness of your bodily senses. You will be more aware of when you are full. This will stop you from overeating. You can only do this when you are fully immersed in the experience of enjoying your food. 

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