Mindful eating is the process of eating with consciousness. In other words, consuming food not by impulse, but because we are really hungry.
Mindfulness is a meditation technique originating from East Asia.
This technique does not restrict the senses and is experienced by each person differently. A number of studies suggest that the mindfulness technique can be taught.
Mindfulness training is increasingly considered as an integral part of weight loss-programs that promote changes at a nutrition or physical activity level (Olson & Emery, 2015).
According to bibliography (Mantzios & Wilson 2015) on mindfulness and eating behavior and their relation to obesity, we note that the “automatic” (or unconscious) consumption of food is inevitable, since we eat every day and actually, many times during the day, so that the act itself becomes of secondary importance.
Researches show that people consume food because “it is meal time” and not because they are hungry. Mindfulness “breaks” this automatic behavior and promotes better recognition of the need for food (by distinguishing between biological hunger and cravings), therefore helping achieve better weight regulation.
Some simple steps to help you start mindful eating:
- Make a shopping list with the things you really need and buy those specific items only.
- Always sit at a table to eat and organize your space accordingly, i.e. we set the table, even if you are eating alone.
- Do not rush; take time to observe the “organoleptic properties” of your food, i.e. its color, shape, aroma and texture.
- Create a pleasant atmosphere during your meal, if possible (e.g. a nice tablecloth, a well-lit area, maybe the music we prefer).
- While eating, focus on your meal. Avoid distractions such as TV.
- Pay attention to the amount of food you serve. Emphasize on quality, not quantity.
- Enjoy the aroma, texture and taste of your food and try to chew slowly. In this way, you will have enough time to fully realize that you have satisfied your hunger and thus, you don’t need to eat more.
- “Listen” to the real signs of hunger or satiety. This will lead you to either continue eating or stop your meal when you will feel truly full.