Discussion about healthy eating tends to focus on what we eat. Much less attention is paid to the question of how we eat it.
Yet a growing body of research suggests that changing our attitudes and practices around meals and mealtime rituals may be every bit as important as obsessing over what it is we actually put in our mouths. Mindful eating (also known as intuitive eating), a concept with its roots in Buddhist teachings, aims to reconnect us more deeply with the experience of eating — and enjoying — our food. Sometimes referred to as “the opposite of diets,” mindful eating is based on the idea that there is no right or wrong way to eat, but rather varying degrees of consciousness about what we are eating and why. The goal of mindful eating, then, is to base our meals on physical cues, such as our bodies’ hunger signals, not emotional ones — like eating for comfort.
Finding ways to slow down and eat intentionally are all a part of developing a truly healthy food culture. And some early research into mindful eating would seem to back this up. One study, for example, tracked more than 1,400 mindful eaters and showed them to have lower body weights, a greater sense of well-being, and fewer symptoms of eating disorders.
I found this illustration, which gives the principles in a very simple graphic.
How to avoid mindless eating
If we are searching through the kitchen for ‘something’ to eat, without a specific goal in mind, we’re probably not hungry, but looking for a distraction. Even after eating, there is no feeling of satiety. How do we know we’re hungry? Physical cues – stomach rumbling, beginning of hypoglycemic headache, etc. We look for a specific item, eat it, and the hunger disappears.
Eating in front of the TV is a classic example of mindless eating.
Try eating with the non-dominant hand, to bring your attention back to the activity.
Simple ways to Stay Healthy.