Mindful Living

What is Mindful Eating?

Written By: Kripa Jalan

What is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating is a phrase that gets thrown around quite a bit, nowadays. And, many people think they know what it means.

A lot of them are wrong.

They’ll say things like:

“It’s a great weight loss solution.”

“It means eating whatever you want, whenever you want.”

“It’s just another fad.”

None of these are accurate. 

What is mindfulness?

Let’s take the first one for example. Mindful eating is not a weight loss solution. While it may result in weight loss for some, it’s so much more than just a diet or weight loss tactic.

Instead, mindful eating is a natural, healthy, and pleasurable way of eating and satisfying hunger.

It is not necessary to become a monk or attend a weeklong meditation retreat to experience the benefits of mindfulness. Mindfulness is an ability we all possess and can cultivate.

Mindfulness is deliberately paying attention, and being fully aware of what is happening both inside yourself—in your body, heart, and mind—and outside yourself, in your environment. 

Mindfulness is awareness without criticism.

In mindful eating, we pass no judgment. On the contrary, the practice is laced with warmth and kindness.

Why do it?

We eat on the run, while working and watching television, so hurried and distracted that we don’t taste what we’re eating and most times we don’t realize how or how much we’re eating until after we’ve eaten beyond the point of satiety.

Mindful eating is the antidote to this. But, it’s not a quick fix. Just like picking up a sport, it takes time and practice to build this skill.

I think it’s far harder – because it’s not just about the food, it involves paying attention to your body and mind, eating with intention and awareness requires you to slow down and pay attention to what you’re eating – noticing the taste, texture, and smell of your food and savoring each bite before you move on to the next!

If practiced well, we’re able to:

  • Notice sensations of hunger, fullness, and satisfaction.
  • Tune into how we feel before, during, and after eating.
  • Understand how food affects our mood and make choices in accordance.

How to do it!

  1. Slow down: First, if we eat slowly, nutrients are absorbed early, in the mouth. Second, chemical signals of satisfaction occur earlier. Think of it like automatic portion control – except that you’re honouring your hunger and not forcing yourself to eat less.
  2. Eat till you’re 80% full: This means you stop eating when you’re just satisfied. Not still hungry, but not stuffed or even full. It’s about feeling content, with a little room left over.
  3. Notice & name: The next time you sit down to eat, look at your plate and notice what you see – what colours are on your plate? Take a deep breath. This will help relax your body, which is great for digestion but also allows you to smell your food. When you finally take a bite, chew slowly and notice the temperature and texture of your food. Continue eating, stopping to check in with yourself along the way. Ask yourself the following questions:
  • Am I enjoying what I’m eating?
  • Do I want more or have I had enough?
  • Do I feel nourished and satisfied?

If you’re looking for more guidance on mastering the principles of mindful eating – we can help.

We can help you build strong nutrition and lifestyle habits that improve and support your physical and mental health, manage stress, bolster immunity, and get sustainable results – with tiny changes that don’t overwhelm you.

Take a look at our 1-1 nutrition coaching program!