Mindful eating – is it the way forward?

Everywhere you turn at the moment you hear the term ‘Mindfulness’ but what exactly is it? The definition of Mindfullness given by Jon Kabat-Zinn a specialist in the modern day practice is “Mindfullness means paying attention in a particular way. On purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally.”

So, Mindfulness is the practice of being aware in every possible moment, while keeping a non-judgemental outlook and, at the same time, observing your own bodily and emotional responses. This state has been hailed as a great stress reducer and a calmer, more content way of living but what about Mindful Eating? Some people describe Mindful Eating as eating with your full and absolute attention to the look, taste and texture of the food. I believe Mindful Eating is so much more than that. The very fact that you are completely focused on the food will most probably reduce the number of calories you eat which is great. A full mindful eating experience should also include feeling the sensations in your body as you eat which should also include the emotion you feel before, during and after your meal.

And  what about the triggers that make you decide what and when to eat.

  • Was your body or mind telling you that you were hungry?
  • Is the food nutritious , if not why did you choose it?
  • Are you eating to feed an emotion or a physical hunger?
  • If you close your eyes when you eat does it taste different?
  • What is the difference in how you feel before you started eating and afterwards?
  • What are your non-hunger triggers?

Answering these questions will give you a full Mindful Eating experience.

So how do we do it?

Well, there are a few techniques you could use but probably the easiest is to follow these few steps:

  1. If you are ready to eat, stop and check in with your body. Are you physically hungry?
  2. If you are, decide what to eat. Why did you choose that particular food?
  3. Always sit at a table to eat without TV, Tablet or phone
  4. Sit and look at the food for a minute, see its colour and texture.
  5. Eat slowly focusing on the flavour and texture of the food.
  6. Notice how you feel all the way through the meal and see if there is any difference between the start and finish.

Now I’m not suggesting you do this at every meal but if you just did this for one meal a day it would be of great benefit to you.

Helen Clarke Co-Founder DietMaps