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Mindful eating is a type of awareness you have during the moment of eating your food. Similar to other forms of mindfulness, when you are mindful about your eating practices, you enter a place of non-judgment. Instead, appreciate the current moment, focusing on what you’re eating and whether you are enjoying it, as well as details like the taste, texture and temperature of your food.
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Why Is Mindful Eating So Beneficial?
You will benefit in many different ways by becoming more mindful about your food, such as:
- Heal your relationship with food. If you tend to feel guilty or try to control your eating habits, you may not have a great relationship with food. Mindful eating will ease these stresses and help you understand that your food and diet it is not something to fear.
- Learn to eat slower. Eating slower helps you focus more on your food and how it makes you feel. It gives you time to notice when you are feeling full, and helps a lot with your digestion.
- Have a better understanding of hunger and fullness. You will also start noticing your own body’s cues when it comes to when you are truly hungry vs. emotionally hungry, as well as when your body is full.
- Know what food satisfies you and makes you feel good. Beyond neutralizing all food and putting a stop to the food labels, mindful eating also helps you figure out what foods your body does and doesn’t like. For instance, someone may discover a lactose intolerance they didn’t know they had. Others will discover that they prefer certain foods at specific times of the day.
Easy Ways to Get Started
Not sure where to start? The easiest thing to do is choose one meal or snack a day when you tend to be alone without a lot of distractions. All you have to do is turn off the TV, minimize windows on your computer, or turn your phone to silent. Then, just trying to eat your meal without any distractions. This alone is often enough to help you start becoming more mindful.
Need some tips to get started? Every body is different, so the process will look different for everyone. Here are three steps to try being more mindful while you’re eating:
- Pay attention to yourself, what you feel you want and you need. Sometimes, your mind needs comfort food. It’s okay to stray from your mindful eating goals, and it’s always okay to steer yourself back towards them.
- Pay attention to the way your body feels before and after eating.
- Pay attention to what thoughts you’re prioritizing when you make a decision about eating. Make sure these align with what feels right for you.
What Mindful Eating Isn’t
Mindful eating is not meant to be a way to restrict food, diet, or intentionally lose weight. You are not trying to be mindful in order to eat as little as possible. While you might end up losing weight naturally from mindful eating, when it becomes your intention, it gets in the way of the other benefits of being more mindful when you eat.
Recording your process is a great way to help you stay mindful and focused. You can use a mindful eating or wellness journal (sometimes writing it down makes it more impactful) or, if you’re in a hurry, use an app!
A version of this article first appeared on our sister site, Eat Well Live Better. It has been modified for Sass.
Kim is the owner and publisher of Sass Magazine, as well as the owner of Sass Studios, a boutique graphic design studio in Frederick, MD. When not in the office, Kim can be found doing some of her favorite hobbies—reading a book, dancing, traveling, or playing with her rescued pitbull.