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Mindful Eating

Updated: Dec 6, 2023



Perhaps the best way for us to appraoch mindful eating is to firstly consider mindless eating. You know what it is. You probably do this without even realising. Life is busy. It's difficult to make time to truly savour, enjoy and appreciate food.


I, like many people, have been a multitasking eater. It would not be unusual for me to sit and eat in the car, at the computer, whilst scrolling through my phone or watching tv. Whilst I have always made an effort to have family mealtimes, as soon as I am left to my own devices, without company, I am in danger of falling into mindless eating habits.


I became much more aware of how I was eating as I trained as a mindfulness coach, whereby mindful eating was an element of the training course. But thinking back, this was not my first encounter with midnful eating.


I remember as a child, in the 1980s, my Nana talking about it.


She didn't refer to it as 'mindful eating', but she did tell me a story.


Apparently Queen Elizabeth II would chew every mouthful of food 100 times.


The purpose of the story was to convey an enjoyment of food, and not rushing your meal. I imagine I was probably stuffing my food down at high speed in a hurry to go outside and play, because as a child I was always 100 miles per hour, and my Nana was trying to encourage me to slow down and to enjoy my meal.


Now, I can't vouch for the accuracy of the Queen Elizabeth II story, but I can see the principle behind it, and how it aligns with mindful eating.


I am not suggesting that you chew each mouthful 100 times, but instead, I am suggesting that you take time to savour and enjoy your food.


Mindful eating is the practice of paying attention to your food and the experience of eating it. It involves engaging all of your senses in the process of eating, from the smell and sight of your food to the taste, texture, and sound of each bite.


Mindful eating is not about dieting or restricting what you eat. It's about being present and aware of your food and your body's needs. When you eat mindfully, you are more likely to listen to your body's hunger and fullness cues, and to eat what you really want and need.



How to practice mindful eating:


There are many different ways to practice mindful eating. Here are a few tips to get you started:


  • Find a quiet place to eat. This will help you to focus on your food and avoid distractions.


  • If you are able to find someone else to dine with, take the chance to do so. Instead of eating alone, seek out company. If this is not possible, try to be as present with yourself as you can.


  • Turn off your phone and any other devices. Close any books and magazines around you.


  • Take a few deep breaths before you start eating. This will help you to relax and centre yourself.


  • Look at your food and appreciate its smell, appearance, aroma, and texture. Think about where your food came from, how it was prepared, who prepared it.


  • Appreciate the good fortune of having food readily available to nourish your body.


  • Take a small bite and chew slowly. Pay attention to the taste, texture, and temperature of the food.


  • Notice how your body feels as you eat. Are you hungry? Are you full? Are there any other physical sensations that you notice?


  • Put down your fork between bites. This will help you to savor your food and avoid overeating.


  • Pause for a breath. Savour the moment. Enjoy your wonderful meal.



The benefits of mindful eating:


Mindful eating has many benefits, both physical and mental. Here are a few examples:

  • Weight loss and maintenance: Mindful eating can help you to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight by helping you to eat less and to make healthier food choices.

  • Improved digestion: Mindful eating can help to improve digestion by reducing stress and by helping you to chew your food more thoroughly.

  • Reduced stress: Mindful eating can help to reduce stress by helping you to focus on the present moment and to let go of worries about the past or future.

  • Improved mood: Mindful eating can help to improve your mood by helping you to appreciate your food and the experience of eating it.

  • Increased self-awareness: Mindful eating can help you to become more aware of your body's needs and to make more conscious choices about what you eat and how you eat it.



As a certified nutrition coach and a mindfulness certified personal trainer, I am able to guide you to make changes to your lifestyle in a sustainable and enjoyable way.


Contact me to arrange a free exploration call, where we can discuss your requirements, and how I am able to support you.



Best wishes

Tonia




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