January is World Mindful Eating Month! In our last blog, Self-Care December, we briefly discussed the practice of mindfulness. This month, we’ll apply it to food and eating.
Mindfulness: practice of bringing your full attention and awareness to one’s experience in the moment, without judgement, just observation.
Mindful Eating: Helps us be aware of thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations surrounding food and eating. Mindful eating helps us to be more attuned to our hunger, fullness, and satiety to help us guide our decisions on when to begin and end eating. It also allows us to choose foods that are satisfying and nourishing to our bodies. Mindful eating includes using all of our senses to eat. Applying mindfulness to eating allows us to acknowledge likes, dislikes without judgements.
Benefits of Mindful Eating
Mindful eating allows us to get in touch with our bodies’ inner wisdom around our nutrition needs, food preferences, as well as hunger and satiety so we can break free from restrictive patterns around food and eating. Mindful eating brings awareness of our relationship with food and empowers us to make choices that will help us meet our health needs based on how different foods make our bodies and minds feel, unlike dieting for weight loss. It shifts our thoughts around food choices from external authorities to our own body and mind. Mindful eating encourages that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to eat.
When we start to focus on our food, slow down the eating process, and eat without distractions, we are able to derive more satisfaction from our food. We are also able to notice our thoughts, feelings, and attitudes toward food. We can notice different types of hunger like stomach hunger (physical hunger) or heart hunger, when we may be turning to food in response to emotion. Sometimes, we may fill voids we may be feeling with food, like loneliness or dissatisfaction with another part of our lives. Mindful eating can help us become aware of these feelings and work to solve the root of the problem.
It is also easy to eat quickly, and often more than we intended, when we are eating with distractions like watching television or using the computer. Turning these distractions off may be a great place to start in your mindful eating practice.
The Center for Mindful Eating is a great resource to help you get started! They are hosting a FREE, month long virtual event for World Mindful Eating Month 202: Cultivate a Mindful eating Practice-Planting Seeds of Compassion, sign up today!
Here is a great mindful eating activity recording to practice with:
Information from The Center for Mindful Eating