How do we eat more mindfully?

How do we eat more mindfully? teaser
Are you familiar with the feeling of overeating? Do you eat everything on your plate, regardless of whether you’re still hungry? Becoming more aware of and responsive to hunger and fullness signals is key to a healthy and mindful way of eating. 

As children we start out being very in tune with our internal appetite cues, eating only when we’re hungry and stopping when we’re not. However, as we’re told to finish everything on our plate and associate eating a certain amount with reward or punishment, we begin to develop complex relationships with food and override the innate ability that we have to regulate our diet.  

Re-training ourselves to appropriately respond to hunger cues is a process that involves mindful eating. Mindful eating is ‘paying attention to an eating experience with all our senses (seeing, tasting, hearing, smelling, feeling); witnessing, without judgment, the emotional and physical responses that take place before, during and after the experience’ (1).  Put simply, instead of looking at your phone or the TV while you’re eating and actually paying attention to the experience, your mind and body have more time to register fullness and you won’t feel the need to eat as much. 

A mindful eating and fullness diary can be a useful tool in helping us to understand why we may eat to the point of feeling uncomfortably full or make certain food choices that leave us feeling less than satisfied or content. Have a go at filling out this Mindful Eating and Fullness Diary from the Dietitians Association of Australia and see if it makes a difference to the foods that you choose and the amount that you eat. Remember to be curious about your behaviour rather than judgmental!

Emma Smyth
Dietitian
360 Health + Community

Reference:

Hammond M. Ways dietitians are incorporating mindfulness and mindful eating into nutrition counseling. 2007 [cited 2009 2 Jun]. Link not available.
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