Eating is a natural, healthy, and pleasurable activity for meeting our energy and nutritional needs. However, in our food-abundant, diet-obsessed culture, eating is often mindless, consuming, and guilt-inducing instead. Mindful eating is an ancient mindfulness practice with profound modern implications and applications for resolving this troubled love-hate relationship with food.
So, What is Mindful Eating?
Mindful eating is eating with intention and attention:
- Eating with the intention of caring for yourself
- Eating with the attention necessary for noticing and enjoying your food and its effects on your body
Learning to eat more mindfully can have a profound impact on your relationship with food by helping with things like…
- Awareness of your physical and emotional cues
- Recognition of your non-hunger triggers for eating
- Learning to meet your other needs in more effective ways than eating
- Choosing food for both enjoyment and nourishment
- Eating for optimal satisfaction and satiety
- Using the fuel you’ve consumed to live the vibrant life you crave
This broad application makes mindful eating a powerful tool for developing a healthier, happier relationship with food.
How does mindful eating help resolve eating issues?
Many people who struggle with food react mindlessly to their unrecognized or unexamined triggers, thoughts, and feelings. In other words, they re-act—repeating past actions again and again—feeling powerless to change. Mindfulness increases your awareness of these patterns without judgment and creates space between your triggers and your actions.
For example, whenever you notice that you feel like eating and pause to ask the question, “Am I hungry?”, you are able to observe your thoughts and choose how you will respond. Instead of reacting mindlessly, mindfulness gives you response-ability. That is how mindful eating empowers you to finally break old automatic or habitual chain reactions and discover options that work better for you.