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Mind Over Mouth: The Benefits of Mindful Eating

Chelsea Denlinger

What is mindful eating?

Mindful eating can be defined as eating in-the-moment using all of your sensations. Each meal and snack is eaten with attention and intention.  When you eat mindfully, you purposefully direct your attention onto your eating patterns and habits.

What are the benefits of mindful eating?

One of the best benefits about mindful eating is that it is not a diet. There are no restrictions to any foods.  Mindful eating promotes a balance between everyday foods and rich indulgences. Not only can you experience less guilt with your choices, but you can also savor the taste of your food. Instead of judgment surrounding your food decisions, you can enjoy every last bite! A second benefit to eating mindfully lies in the power to take charge of your plate. The practice of mindfulness has the potential to carry over into creating a healthier relationship with food. You can learn to eat slowly, manage stress eating, fight off cravings, and feel full on less.  In sum, mindful eating is a realistic approach. It does not require you to put in extra effort, but to channel your awareness onto your dish.

Here are five skills you can begin today to eat more mindfully:

  1. Think Before You Shop – Fill your grocery cart with foods that will add value to your nutrition and health. Add to your cart foods that can sustain you with power and fuel. Carefully navigate the grocery store by shopping the perimeter and fresh produce sections first.  Eating mindfully begins in your cart.
  2. Fill On Greens – Load your plate with healthy low-calorie foods. Then, commit to eating those items first.  Notice how your satiety changes during the meal.
  3. Eat Tiny Portions – At the start of your meal, try serving yourself a smaller portion than what you think you will need to feel full. Eating off a smaller plate can be a helpful environmental cue to check in with your hunger sooner.
  4. Just Keep Chewing – With each mouthful, you gift yourself more time to truly tune into the flavors and textures of the food you are eating. Chewing your food into smaller pieces can help to slow down the pace of your eating as well as gauge fullness.   
  5. Disconnect – Set aside all electronics and distractions at your next meal or snack.  Let yourself unplug completely to reconnect to the food in front of you. Observe when you begin to feel full versus satisfied with your food.

 


 

References

Albers, S. (2012). Eating Mindfully: How to End Mindless Eating and Enjoy a Balanced Relationship with Food (2nd Ed). Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.

Andersen, A. (2007). Stories I tell my patients: where are you when you are eating?. Eating Disorders, 15, 279-280.

Kadey, M. (2017). Mindful Eating: Eat, Drink, and Think. Environmental Nutrition, 40, 4.

8 Steps to Mindful Eating. (2016). Harvard Women’s Health Watch, 23, 1-7.

One thought on “Mind Over Mouth: The Benefits of Mindful Eating”

  1. Christine Ravetti Ravely says:

    So true, I try to slow down my eating at every meal! As to shopping, Noom, you have taught me well! We do fill our shopping cart with produce, for sure — also frozen vegetables and such because of the snow we have been getting in our part of California, anything to help alleviate our drought is appreciated! I always have brown rice on hand if we cannot get to the store for our sweet potatoes! I bake my brown rice using a recipe from Alton Brown, I always use low sodium chicken broth to make it. Sometimes I add some sauteed onions and mushrooms — or a can of drained mushrooms works! And I like to add a TB or so of grated parmesan to the finished rice! There’s always leftovers, too!

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