What is mindful eating?
Mindful eating is maintaining an in-the-moment awareness of the food and drink you put into your body, observing rather than judging how the food makes you feel and the signals your body sends about taste, satisfaction, and fullness.
For many of us, our busy lives make mealtimes rushed affairs or we find ourselves eating over the kitchen sink, at the desk in front of a computer screen, surfing social media on our phones or parked on the couch watching TV. We eat mindlessly, shovelling food down regardless of whether we’re still hungry or not. In fact, we often eat for reasons other than hunger—to satisfy emotional needs, to relieve stress, or cope with unpleasant emotions such as sadness, anxiety, loneliness, or boredom. Mindful eating is the opposite of this kind of unhealthy “mindless” eating.
Mindful eating isn’t about being perfect, always eating the right things, or never allowing yourself to eat on-the-go again. Rather, it’s about focusing all your senses and being present as you eat your food. Many people find that by eating this way, even for just a few meals a week, you can become more attuned to your body. This can help you avoid overeating and make it easier to change your dietary habits for the better and enjoy the improved mental and physical well-being that comes with a healthier diet.
By paying close attention to how you feel as you eat—the texture and tastes of each mouthful, your body’s hunger and fullness signals, how different foods affect your energy and mood—you can learn to savour both your food and the experience of eating. Being mindful of the food you eat can promote better digestion, keep you full with less food, and influence wiser choices about what you eat in the future.