Being healthy, eating healthily and living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t only involve what you are eating, but also the behaviours around how you are eating. Many of us lead such busy lives that actually being able to take a minute to sit down, stop and enjoy our food is something that we are often unable to do on a daily basis.
So what really is mindful eating?
It is an eating style that encourages a positive relationship with food and the body.It teaches us the ability to give our full attention to the smell, taste and texture of the food but also the environment in which the food is served. By paying more attention to every bite, we not only learn how to savour the food, achieve its maximum enjoyment, but also become more aware of our body’s hunger and fullness cues. Eating this way encourages us to make food choices for both health and eating satisfaction and not using food to cope with emotions.
Do you eat after you are already full, eat because there is food on the plate or eat just because you’re craving that sweet treat after dinner? These are all signs of mindless eating; eating without full attention, intention and consideration of what we are doing.
When you eat mindlessly, you are more likely to overeat and gain weight.
So why is mindful eating important?
When we eat mindlessly or ‘without thinking’, we don’t think of the taste of food much after the first few bites. As a result, we enjoy our food less as we are not noticing the changing flavors and textures. When we learn how to eat mindfully, we learn to be satisfied with smaller amounts. Additionally, studies on mindful eating have found that eating this way has had a positive effect of weight maintenance, body image, mental health and wellbeing.
So when should I eat?
Number one tip: DO NOT IGNORE TRUE HUNGER.
True hunger is the growling of your stomach that doesn’t go away, with a desire for food that intensifies over time even making non-favourite foods sound appealing to eat. Use the table below to assess your hunger on a regular basis. It has been found that weight management is most successful if we are at before we eat and then stop when we reach a rating of
he Hunger Scale
By eating regularly we are able to prevent ourselves going into the “ravenous” stage of
hunger – often a 1 or 2 on the scale.
For more tips on how to incorporate mindful eating in day to day life, check out our post on
5 Tips for Mindful Eating