Mindful Eating

Aoife Ryan gives some hints on Mindful Eating

Most discussions on healthy eating focus on what we should and shouldn’t be eating. Mindful eating focuses on how we eat, and it has proved to be just as important. The practice of mindful eating reconnects us with eating and enjoying our food. The concept was developed to counteract unhealthy eating patterns caused by emotional cues (emotional eating).
The main goal with mindful eating is to recognize when you are hungry and eat for that reason. It focuses on how we understand and think about what we are eating and how it makes us feel/ affects our bodies. The main reason we eat should be to fuel and nourish our bodies, but it is important to enjoy what we are eating too. Mindful eating helps us to be more aware of our eating patterns and to identify emotional triggers. Knowing which emotions lead us to comfort eat makes it much easier to avoid using them as triggers for comfort eating.

Here are some tips on how to introduce mindful eating to your mealtimes:

Slow Down
Taking your time and savoring your food will help make sure you enjoy it more and eat less. Try chewing your food for longer; this will give you more time to realize when you’re full and also aid in the digestion of your food. You’ll find yourself noticing the taste of your food much too. Sipping on water during a meal will help you to slow down and encourage breaks.

Eliminate Distractions
Turn off the television and leave your phone in the other room. Concentrate on your food. Doing two things at once inhibits our awareness. Being aware of what you are eating, and how much of it, will help you to recognize when you’ve had enough.

Choose a Healthy Snack
If you feel hungry throughout the day, try to avoid snacking on high sugar energy foods. Choose a piece of fruit instead of a chocolate bar – this will make you feel better and keep you full for longer.

Why are you Eating?
In mindful eating, you are encouraged to recognize if you are really hungry or if you feel like eating as an emotional response. Before you eat, make sure you are experiencing hunger sensations. If you aren’t sure then have a glass of water and wait a while – if you still aren’t experiencing any physical hunger then you most likely feel like eating because of a negative emotion such as boredom or stress. But if you decide that you are feeling hungry then go on and eat. Think about what you would like to eat and how it will make you feel.