Did you know that being distracted while eating, is otherwise known as “Mindless Eating?”
Mindless Eating has been linked to overeating, stress and increased anxiety. To figure out if you have been eating mindlessly, think back to your last meal. Can you remember what you ate? The textures, the smell, and the taste? If you are struggling to remember the specifics of your last meal, it’s possible, you like so many others can identify with mindless eating. With our busy schedules, we often eat in between meetings, diaper changes, on the way to work or in front of the television. Mindful Eating helps people check in with their direct experience when eating. Mindful eating changes the experience of a meal. By pausing and taking time to consciously enjoy your meal, becoming curious the mind is able to find focus on each bite. Mindful eating cultivates becoming grounded in the present moment.
As a practice, mindful eating can bring us awareness of our own actions, thoughts, feelings and motivations, and insight into the roots of health and contentment.
Principles of Mindfulness:
- Mindfulness is deliberately paying attention, non-judgmentally, in the present moment.
- Mindfulness encompasses both internal processes and external environments.
- Mindfulness is being aware of your thoughts, emotions and physical sensations in the present moment.
- With practice, mindfulness cultivates the possibility of freeing yourself of reactive, habitual patterns of thinking, feeling and acting.
- Mindfulness promotes balance, choice, wisdom and acceptance of what is.
Mindful Eating is:
- Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation by respecting your own inner wisdom.
- Using all your senses in choosing to eat food that is both satisfying to you and nourishing to your body.
- Acknowledging responses to food (likes, dislikes or neutral) without judgment.
- Becoming aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decisions to begin and end eating.
Someone Who Eats Mindfully:
- Acknowledges that there is no right or wrong way to eat but there are varying degrees of awareness surrounding the experience of food.
- Accepts that their eating experiences are unique.
- Is an individual who by choice, directs their attention to eating on a moment-by-moment basis.
- Gains awareness of how they can make choices that support health and well-being.
- Becomes aware of the interconnection of earth, living beings, and cultural practices and the impact of their food choices on those systems.
This information was adapted from The Center for Mindful Eating website. Find out more at thecenterformindfuleating.org.
Dr. Renee Simons, Psy.D