How many times have you wondered where your burger and chips went when they were there just two minutes ago?  Or in the good old days when we went out to watch a movie on the big screen, the extra-large popcorn bucket that mysteriously empties before the trailers are finished? 

Mindful eating is “eating with intention while paying attention”.  It is the practice of experiencing your food with all your senses, and paying attention to the emotional and physical responses before, during and after the meal.

Mindless eating is when we eat at our desk while checking emails, in front of the TV, foraging through cupboards and the fridge when we’re bored, or as a bad habit when we’re driving.  Mindless eating is a short-lived and unconscious experience.   

Mindful eating is not a diet.  It is a mindset to approaching your food with intention and enjoyment.  Here is how you can apply mindful eating principles:

Prioritise mealtimes

Schedule mealtimes and take the time to enjoy your food without being rushed.  Sit down at a table instead of eating on your feet.  Use cutlery and serve your food on a plate instead of the Tupperware or take away containers.

No distractions

When it is time to eat then eat.  Don’t check emails, scroll social media or watch TV.   

Slow down

Let your body catch up to your brain.  Eating at a slower, more relaxed pace allows your brain to register when your body is full and has had enough.  This prevents overeating and that feeling of being uncomfortably full.  Digestion also begins in the mouth so instead of gulping down your food, savour the flavours and chew each bite at least 25 times.

Tune into your body

We often mistake emotional hunger for physical hunger.  Instead of sleepwalking to the fridge or treat cupboard when your brain tells you you’re sad, bored or frustrated, stop and check in with your body.  Are there hunger cues like hunger pangs in your belly or do you need a hug instead?  Learn how to decipher these cues.

Consider where and when you eat

Have a set time and place for your meals instead of randomly eating your way through the day.  Be consistent with your mealtimes and prepare a space in which to eat it.  Not only does this force you to plan, be prepared, and slow down but regular and consistent meal times contribute to improved mood, energy levels and better sleep.

By Coach Lisa

Photo Credit: Simon Wilkes

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