Mindful eating helps us listen to our bodies, so that we eat when hungry and stop when full. Additionally, mindful eating can reduce emotional eating habits while improving our relationship with food.
Mindful eating may seem intimidating at first, but the benefits far outweigh any initial difficulties. Here are a few steps you can take to start living this way of eating.
Reaching for that chocolate bar to satisfy a craving or eating while watching television or scrolling through your news feed are both unintentional forms of emotional eating, but mindful eating can help stop this cycle.
Eating mindfully means slowing down, turning off the TV, putting away your phone and paying attention to what and how you’re eating – including its texture, shape, colors, aromas, etc.
Integrating mindful eating into your lifestyle may take some time, particularly if you’re used to rushing through meals or overeating. But by making gradual changes, you’ll start developing healthy habits that will benefit both physical and mental wellbeing. A journal could be an effective way to track progress towards more mindful diet (6).
Research demonstrates the value of being more mindful, helping us eat more nutrient-dense foods while limiting junk food intake. Eating mindfully may also assist in recognizing emotional triggers which cause unhealthy and counterproductive eating patterns, making it easier to identify healthy coping mechanisms to cope with emotions more effectively.
Mindful eating involves paying close attention to every element of your meal – its look, smell, taste and feel – so as to savor its flavors and textures while simultaneously keeping an eye on how full you are afterwards.
To practice mindful eating, begin by sitting down and giving each bite your full attention for at least several minutes. Eliminate distractions like your phone and other screens from view; chew slowly to aid digestion more easily as well. Although at first it may feel awkward or anxiety-inducing, mindful eating will eventually build stronger mental muscles with practice.
Mindful eating can help ease stress by encouraging an open, nonjudgmental attitude towards food experiences and breaking rigid rules around eating to create more flexibility around food consumption.
By being more aware of your eating experience, you can savor every element of your meal while paying attention to how it makes you feel physically. This allows you to connect with hunger and fullness cues that can help prevent overeating.
Mindful eating should not be seen as a replacement to traditional dieting, but can serve as an effective supplement in terms of weight loss and maintainability. Furthermore, mindful eating fosters more positive interactions between food and body that can enhance your mood and balance neurochemicals that influence it. Mindfulness has become an integral component of nutritional psychiatry as a recovery strategy from disordered eating or eating disorders 
Research suggests that mindful eating practices may aid in the prevention of obesity. Such practices may help shift nervous system dominance towards parasympathetic, aiding digestion while decreasing cortisol production.
Mindful eating not only aids digestive processes but can also create a healthier relationship with food. Instead of feeling guilty for what they eat, those practicing mindful eating may experience greater satisfaction with meals they are eating, leading to an overall improvement in themselves and life overall.
Mindful eating involves becoming aware of when and how hungry you are by listening to your hunger cues, and also paying attention when you are full so as not to overeat. Eating slowly and thoroughly chewing food are crucial components of mindful eating. Also recommended: taking notes as you progress. It may take some practice but be sure not to judge your eating habits regardless of their success in changing – that will only hinder progress!