Simple Steps for Eating Mindfully

By Eric Perry, PhD-c


“Mindful eating means simply eating or drinking while being aware of each bite or sip.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

In our fast paced society and ever present need to multi-task, many of us have forgotten the joys of eating. I personally know what it’s like to be so busy I forget to stop and smell the spaghetti :). This was written as a reminder to myself. Here are 5 tips on how to eat more mindfully.

1. Recognize if you are truly hungry
Learn to recognize the physical cues of hunger and when you are full. By paying attention you will avoid overeating and eating for other reasons other than hunger. Some of us are emotional eaters and eat in response to certain emotions such as sadness, loneliness and boredom. Others might eat in response to external cues such sight or smell. Our sense of fullness has been somewhat skewed by the large portions we receive from restaurants and fast food places. Being mindful of eating only when you are truly hungry and stopping when you are full will put you back in charge of your body. You may be surprised at how little food you actually need to feel satisfied.

2. Don’t skip meals
Do try and plan regular meals and snacks. When hunger strikes we may find ourselves reaching for the most convenient and fast meal. This could come from a vending machine or a fast food place which might not be the wisest or healthiest choice for our body. By having a set schedule it will allow us time to prepare our meals and give us enough time to be truly present while we eat.

3. Appreciate what you are eating
Next time you are enjoying a meal, take a pause between bites and pay attention to the flavors, textures, smells and color of the food. Eat with all of your senses! While eating, ask yourself some of these questions, “What does this taste like?” and “How does the texture feel in my mouth?” Take a moment and reflect on how the food makes you feel. Be grateful for the farmers who grew the food and the sun that ripened the fruit or vegetables. By creating these pauses of gratitude you will be more connected to your body and to the food you are eating.

4. Slow down
Remember, it’s not a race. Studies have shown that it takes 20 minutes for your brain to register that you are full. If you race through your meal there is a likelihood you will consume more than you need. In this case, it is better to be the tortoise than the hare! Here are a few ways to slow down:

a) Try eating with your non-dominate hand

b) This is one of my favorites, eat with chopsticks

c) Take small bites and chew slowly and thoroughly

d) Put your fork down between bites

e) Say grace or express your gratitude halfway through your meal

5. When eating, just eat
Try to make a ritual of your mealtimes. Avoid distractions. This means turn off the TV, computer, cell phone and put down the book or magazine. Focus solely on the act of eating. Learn to eat silently and think about what you are eating. If you have children this one may be impossible, but perhaps try to make a game out of it! Whoever can eat quietly the longest is king of the hill! Lastly, studies have shown many benefits of being fully present while eating. Some of these benefits include weight loss, less likelihood to overeat and binge eat and less anxiety about your body and food. so next time you sit down for a meal, remember to eat with all of you senses! Bon Appetit!


www.MakeItUltraPsychology.com
Specializing in a solution focused and results driven approach to psychotherapy


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42 responses to Simple Steps for Eating Mindfully

  1. TheOriginalPhoenix says:

    I like this! I try do most of these things when I eat but I didn’t know it was a real mindfulness thing. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. MissADS08 says:

    I’m the slowest eater EVER anyway so I feel like I already do this but I know so many “Fast” eaters who wish they could eat slow. I think it must’ve been instilled in me as a child. My grandma sang us a song about chewing your food and also my mom used to tell us to chew our food at least 20 times before swallowing. I still do this now but sometimes I wish I could actually eat a little faster for business events / meetings where you need to be able to get it out of the way to talk to others. I generally just end up picking over my food and only halfway eating it before it’s taken away.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Kat_L says:

    Growing up I was taught to eat slowly & savour your food. Talking wasn’t prohibited but there was less talking at the table. Now, i still eat slow.. i still savour my food but talking has changed its tempo. Having 3 kids around makes it difficult to eat queitly. Over eating hasn’t been a problem in our home but truly this is such a problem by many.
    Thank you for reminding all of us- 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Joonas Kopponen says:

    I have been focusing on getting into good shape mentally, physically and in a way spiritually for around two years now after I found myself in a really bad shape and situation through years of mental health issues and lots of meds but even though I have focused on my diet a lot it still has been a lot about just planning what I eat and quickly devouring it, not really savoring it. This post reminded me of that food and eating can be one of the best joys in life and one should respect and savor it while taking your time. It is truly important enough to pause everything else for a while. I have forgot that with all the other changes I have made. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Brad Nixon says:

    Thanks for another nudge to keep us mindful. And thanks for visiting Under Western Skies. Trying there to be mindful of the world around us!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. mindelate says:

    I’ve always been a really slow eater. It’s like everyone’s eaten and left the table, and I’m always the only one still there 🙈 Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you! Great post. 🙂 I once did a program in Integrative Nutrition, and we needed to practice chewing each bite 50, then 100, then 150+ times. What an exercise in mindfulness! Blessings, Debbie

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is an awesome article! Very thoughtful and insightful. I’ve really been trying to lose weight, so a lot of this plays into that, but I’ve been a lot more conscious about where my food comes from and how fortunate I am to have it, for the past eight years or so. Thanks for the perspective!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Check out my post “The magical slice of Pizza”, think you might enjoy it! Eating slowly and appreciating the different tastes to not overeat is the key! Easier said than done given I’m a genuine glutton hahahah

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wendy says:

    Reblogged this on BRILLIANCE WITHIN and commented:
    Some great advice from Eric at Make it Ultra. Definitely worth following this guide to healthier eating… I spent far too many days skipping meals or rushing to finish so I could continue working… Result = Diabetes. I now follow Eric’s suggestions wherever possible each day, prioritising a healthier diet and taking time to enjoy the healthier food and this has enabled me to put my Diabetes into remission!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Miriam says:

    Such a great post with lots of very wise common sense approach that we often forget about our eating habits. Thanks for the reminders Eric.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I recently discovered that my life-long habit of fast eating was starting to cause me acid reflux. Learning to eat slower has helped tremendously. Thanks for some tips that reinforce what I’ve been learning and are helping me break that unhealthy habit.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Stunning post, I like mostly 2 & 3 tips, have problem with, I may surpass it sooner, great job. It is so helpful post and full of useful information, thanks ! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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