Mindful Eating- a Short Introduction

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Both mindfulness as well as eating are two widely discussed topics. We can find all kind of information and tips for what and when we should eat and what and when we should not eat. The topic of mindfulness starts to get to be known more and more, which is great, because it really has the power to heighten our well- being by taking us into the present moment without judgment. Eating, being such a widely discussed topic is helpful in some way, but in others it just drives us crazy. Bringing mindfulness and eating together allows us to understand who we are when we eat and that is, as research suggests, extremely important. I have discussed the role of our mind in eating in my last post, which you can find here. In that post I listed mindful eating as one way of getting in touch with our mind. I will now explain what mindful eating is and how it can be introduced into our lives.

The practice of mindfulness implies being present in that very moment, observing consciously what is without judgment. In mindful eating we apply exactly that concept to eating. Since all kind of food is available anytime we tend to take food for granted and at the same time are not aware of what we really eat and what is happening inside of us when we eat. Many people eat out a lot, eat while talking, reading, being on the phone, watching TV or doing other things. We feel an appetite and immediately grab something to eat without even taking a minute to do a little check- in with ourselves to see where that hunger is coming. Hunger does not always originate from our physical body, but can also be triggered by our emotions, which are looking nourishment. Mindful eating can support us in finding a way of eating, which nourishes us on all levels: body, mind, and soul.

When we eat mindfully there is no judgment involved, but only observation and acceptance. There then is no right or wrong way of eating, but a space, which allows us to get to know ourselves while eating.

Mindful eating tips:

  • Include your senses: look at your food before eating it, smell the food, carefully pay attention to the flavor, and even try eating with you hands at times allowing you to feel the texture of the food (if location and kind of food are suitable for that J)
  • Stay away from technology: shut off the TV, silence your phone, and leave your computer on the side. Try to take a moment off electronics while you eat. If you use electronics while eating the entire idea of mindfulness is gone, because you will be taken out of the present moment and you won’t be able to present and observe yourself while eating as your mind is elsewhere
  • Become aware of what exactly you are eating: one way of introducing mindfulness into eating is by becoming aware of the ingredients and how these ingredients affect you.
  • Get to know your internal world in connection with your eating behavior: becoming aware of who you are when you eat can be life changing. Your eating behavior can tell you so much about your self. Check out this article to read more about the topic. The following questions can help you in getting to know yourself and connecting your internal world and eating behavior:

– Why do I eat right now?
– How do I feel before I start eating/ while I eat/ after I finished eating?
– How much do I eat?
– Is my appetite constant? Or does it change in response to certain thoughts, emotions or external events?

Introducing mindful eating into your life does not require a lot of effort. It trains you to appreciate what you eat and at the same time get to know your self. We spend so much time and energy on worrying about how much we eat. Instead of worrying we can start living more mindfully. That will coast much less energy. Even the opposite: it will generate energy by making you feel good.

If you have any questions about mindful eating or are not sure how you could introduce it into your lifestyle please feel free to send me an e-mail: beingmebysarah@gmail.com
Wishing you all a great day,
xxx Sarah

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