Mindfulness is the principle of being fully aware of what is happening inside of you and around you, it is an awareness and being present in the moment.
Mindful eating is paying attention to your food, to the tastes, smell, temperature, colours, textures and sounds when you eat it. It is important to understand where we feel the hunger and when we feel satisfied.
There are two types of hunger, physical and emotional hunger which are both explained in the graphic at the bottom of the page.
Once you have understood the type of hunger your having you can use the physical hunger scale to help you understand when to start and stop eating.
Mindful Eating Tips:
Don’t Eat with distractions (No Tv)
Be present in the moment, sit at the dinner table, enjoy the food, use all six senses, the smell, the colours, the texture and the tastes.
Eat slowly and chew your food properly
Use the hunger scale to realise when your full
You do not have to finish your plate, put leftovers in Tupperware or ask for a doggy bag at a restaurant.
Drink water before your meals to ensure it is not thirst causing hunger signals
Eat at the dinner table with friends and family
Don’t Skip Meals
Notice the effect the food has on how you feel
Eat to maintain overall health and wellbeing
There is not a lot of research on mindful eating but there is some out there.
A six-week study including two weekly mindfulness seminars including ‘ training in mindfulness meditation, mindful eating, and group discussion, with emphasis on awareness of body sensations, emotions, and triggers to overeat’ on obese individuals resulted in an average weight loss of 4kg across the 6 week intervention and 12 week follow-up period. Statistically significant decreases were seen in weight, eating disinhibition, binge eating, depression, perceived stress, physical symptoms and negative feelings. (1)
(1) Pilot study: Mindful Eating and Living (MEAL): weight, eating behavior, and psychological outcomes associated with a mindfulness-based intervention for people with obesity. Dalen et al, 2010. Complementary therapies in medicine, 18(6), pp.260-264.