You Are How You Eat, Eat Mindful 7 Steps for Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is a way to establish a positive relationship between what you eat and how you feel.

Do you often eat on the run? Or in front of the TV? 

It’s not just what you eat that affects your health. It is also how you are eating it. Distracted eating detaches us from the power of our food. Food is more than flavors or nutrients. It is an integral part of our experience on this planet.

Many people find eating in silence hard, dull, or impractical. Mindful eating often doesn’t fit into busy schedules. Food is also frequently associated with relaxing in front of the TV. It might be a part of your lifestyle that you overlook. 

We cannot survive without eating. Because of that, many of our rituals and emotions are deeply connected to how we eat. Mindful eating isn’t about eating less or eating healthier necessary. These are common benefits but not the actual goal.  

There is a lot of information floating around about mindful eating. Some scientific and some less so. After reading this guide, you will understand how to expand your mindfulness journey with just what’s on your plate.

What is Mindful Eating?

Practicing mindfulness means to engage fully with yourself and the present moment. Mindful eating is the application of these methods to the time you spend with your food.

Practicing mindfulness means to engage fully with yourself and the present moment. Mindful eating is the application of these methods to food. While eating mindfully, you acknowledge the thoughts, feelings, and sensations that arise without judgment. 

Mindful eating refers to the entire process around eating, from your attitude to preparation to eating and feeling full. This practice is about nurturing yourself and creating a relationship with what you eat and how you feel when you do it.

7 Steps

Everyone’s journey is different. You can practice mindful eating with any food in any location. Here are a few steps to help you make the right choice.

1. Identify Your body’s needs

Are you hungry, or do you just want to eat? These don’t have to be mutually exclusive. It is OK to enjoy eating. Mindful eating is another way to get in touch with your body in the present moment.

Eating is a unique process, like breathing. It is something we have to do to survive. We also do it instinctively until we try to do it intentionally. 

So when you eat mindfully, take a few breaths and check in with your body.

2. Connect With Your Food  

You should know what you’re eating. This knowledge will help you focus on the complexity or simplicity of your eating. You don’t have to know the farmers personally, but at least be able to identify each element. 

Your food doesn’t have to be exceptionally nutritious to practice mindful eating. You can do it with a burger and fries. 

As you continue to practice, you may find you crave certain types of foods when eating mindfully. Check in with your body.

3. Put Away Your Devices

There are so many screens around you. You’ve probably tuned a lot of them out. Or you’ve gotten accustomed to watching YouTube while eating. Technology is a tool and, in many cases, a necessity. 

But when you sit down to practice mindful eating, turn off all distractions. Even music if it is distracting you from your mind and body.

4. Get Comfortable

Find a spot that you like. It doesn’t have to be quiet or empty, just a place you feel comfortable. Try to avoid lying down in bed, though.

5. Eat Slowly

Before taking your first bite, take your meal with all your senses. Starting with sight, consider how the dish looks on your plate or in your hand. Look closely and then look from a distance. Does your perspective change?

Move through the other senses as if you were doing the Rasin Meditation

After you swallow your first bite, take a deep breath and notice any changes in your mood or satiation. Are you still hungry? Are any emotions coming up?

Take note of how your food nourishes you. You need it to survive. Also, relish the tastes and sensations you feel when you bite, chew, and swallow. 

Pause each mouthful and go through a quick body scan.

6. Stop When You Are Full

Because you are eating slowly, you may eat less your first time practicing mindful eating. That’s not a bad thing. We often let external things influence our behavior. The same goes for food. 

When you focus on a screen or a problem while eating, you will lose control of your eating impulses. You tune out, and before you know it, you’ve eaten an entire family-sized bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos. 

That’s not good for your body or your toilet. Limiting yourself to what you need is easier when you make eating-conscious decisions. Not to say, don’t have snacks ever. There is no perfect mindfulness. Everything is practice.

7. Express Gratitude

After your meal, be thankful. Thankful you have food to nourish you and the ability to focus entirely on what you are eating. 

Be thankful for taking time out of your day to do something for yourself. You chose to connect to the present moment. If your mind wanders and thoughts come up, be grateful for your ability to let those thoughts go and refocus on your meal.

What Are the Benefits of Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating will lead you to make more informed choices about what you eat. These practices will help you improve your overall eating habits. 

When you take the time to consider your food with all of your senses, you will increase your enjoyment. You will begin to appreciate each bite as its own set of unique sensations. You will feel more satisfied with each bite. You may even find yourself eating less.

You will find yourself feeling more grateful for what you eat. Mindful eating is a tool that will help you feel more thankful for what you have. I can also help show more love and gratitude to yourself. 

Choosing to connect with your food positively impacts your attitude toward eating. You may begin to choose different and more nutritious meals. You may want to try new flavor combinations mindfully. 

You may also notice that certain foods do not improve your mood. People often reach for fatty foods when feeling depressed or stressed. High-fat foods may cause increases in perceived stress

Mindful eating can also help you regulate how much you eat in a sitting, even when you’re not practicing. The more you eat mindfully, the less effort it will take to reach that state of appreciation.

You might find yourself doing a quick check-in with your body before you order appetizers when out with friends. Mindful eating is another tool for your awareness toolbelt. It is another step towards living in the present moment and appreciating your experiences.

Using Mindfulness To Explore Your Relationship With Food

The practice of appreciation is an excellent way to connect with your food. What you eat is directly tied to how you feel, physically and emotionally. Some foods boost your energy, and others weigh you down. 

But just because we know how our bodies respond to different foods doesn’t mean we think about when sitting down to eat. Mindful eating helps you consider your body’s response to food and move it to the forefront of your mind. You can then start making healthier choices.

Fitting Mindful Eating into Your Life

No one expects you to think deeply about every bite of food you take from here on out. It is possible to fit mindful eating into a busy schedule. 

Mindful eating doesn’t have to be a long ritual. You can check-in and appreciate a snack you are about to eat on your 15-minute break. During your next meal, take a minute to entirely focus on what you are eating. 

Mindful eating, like all mindfulness practices, is just that, practice. Every minute you can devote to mindfulness takes you further down your journey.

Next time you go to grab a bite to eat. Put away all of the distractions. Connect with your food, body, and the present moment.

Read Next: Mindfulness Exercises

FAQ

What are some mindful eating habits?

Going slowly, engaging all of your senses, and minimizing distractions are excellent mindful eating habits.

Can you lose weight by mindful eating?

Mindful eating helps you connect better with your food. As a result, you may find you eat less or limit overeating and binging. Eating less may result in weight loss. Weight loss is not guaranteed by mindful eating. It is also not the goal of the practice.

Do I have to practice mindful eating every day?

No, you don’t need to eat mindfully every day to gain the benefit. Mindful eating is like any practice or exercise. Doing it regularly is a great way to feel the full impact.

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Author
Jillian has been on a journey to find peace in the chaos since 2016. Mindfulness, meditation, and yoga have helped them keep present. They have been writing as a passion since an early age and writing professionally since 2018.