Last Thursday we celebrated International Mindful Eating Day, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate eating well then taking a day to focus on nourishing our bodies while also experiencing the pleasure in enjoying our meals in a conscientious, non-judgmental way.
If you are unfamiliar with the concept of mindful eating, you are in the right place! Today’s post is devoted to all things Mindful.
What do you think of when you hear the word “Mindful”?
A few things that immediately come to my mind (no pun intended) for me are:
Although being mindful does include the aforementioned things (they are listed as synonyms on thesaurus.com), mindful eating it is much more than that.
So let’s cut to the chase- what is Mindful Eating?
According to The Center for Mindful Eating, Mindful Eating is:
*“Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation by respecting your own inner wisdom.”
*“Using all of your senses in choosing to eat food that is both satisfying to you and nourishing your body”
*“Acknowledging responses to food (likes, dislikes or neutral) without judgement”
*“Becoming aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decisions to begin and end eating”
Have you ever experienced being so deeply absorbed in a book or a movie, that you don’t realize you have eaten an entire bag of popcorn until your fingers scrape the bottom of the bag?
Or, been out to lunch with friends, catching up and laughing about old times when suddenly you look down at your plate and realize it’s almost clean and you barely remember taking or tasting a single bite?
Almost everyone can relate. Unfortunately, in these moments, we have lost your connection with food. We’re not even sure if we were hungry enough to eat the entire plate/bag, or whether or not we even enjoyed what we just consumed…
Instead of pleasure, we can often be left with feelings of sadness, disappointment or even guilt.
But with mindful eating…
We can bring ourselves back to the moment.
We can take note of the smells, textures, and tastes of each bite. Become aware our surroundings: the company, the location, the plate you are eating off of, the music in the background.
We can begin to notice how eating affects our mood, and how our emotions affect what and importantly, how we eat. We can begin to notice internal and external cues to hunger and fullness, and connect with mind cues of when to start and stop eating.
Studies have shown that with mindful eating, women can have a positive relationship with food, rid ourselves of feelings of deprivation (with mindful eating- there is no “right” or “wrong” / “good” or “bad” foods!), empower ourselves to build a healthy mind and body, and ultimately, bring pleasure back to the act of eating.
So next time you’re ready to nosh—take a breath, and ask yourself these questions, from the Mindful Eating Cycle, created by Michelle May, MD.
*Why do I eat? (Are you hungry? Bored? Stressed? Taste? For comfort? Nutrition?)
*When do I eat? (Physical hunger cues? Emotions? Time of day?)
*What do I eat? (What factors do you consider? Convenience? Taste? Nutrition?)
*How do I eat? (Rushed? Distracted? Secretive? Mindful?)
*How much do I eat? (Amount may be decided by fullness, package size, habit, company?)
*Where does the energy go? (Does eating give you energy? Cause sluggishness? Lead to guilt?)
Mindfulness can flow into other facets our daily lives too, not just at mealtimes. We can begin to notice the small details in life, appreciate simple things in our daily routine, perceive gratitude with otherwise inconsequential interactions, and experience the world in a whole new, positive light. We just have to be present, and embrace in the moment.
Life’s moments, including eating occasions, should be enjoyable, revitalizing and memorable.
So in honor of International Mindful Eating Day, let’s all be empowered. Let’s embrace life and life’s imperfections. And let’s eat and eat well.
If you are interested in learning more about mindful eating, nutrition, or healthy habits contact Heather, at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are so glad you stopped by!