In my practice I have been starting to research a concept called “mindful eating” to help clients better connect with their eating practices. I find the entire concept very interesting and will be attending a few educational events on the topic in the next few weeks. Here is an overview on what “mindful eating” is all about. ~ Susan
Mindful eating has the powerful potential to transform people’s relationship to food and eating, to improve overall health, body image, relationships and self-esteem. Mindful eating involves many components such as:
- learning to make choices in beginning or ending a meal based on awareness of hunger and satiety cues;
- learning to identify personal triggers for mindless eating, such as emotions, social pressures, or certain foods;
- valuing quality over quantity of what you’re eating;
- appreciating the sensual, as well as the nourishing, capacity of food;
- feeling deep gratitude that may come from appreciating and experiencing food
Mindful eating draws substantially on the use of mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness helps focus our attention and awareness on the present moment, which in turn, helps us disengage from habitual, unsatisfying and unskillful habits and behaviors. Engaging in mindful eating meditation practices on a regular basis can help us discover a far more satisfying relationship to food and eating than we ever imagined or experienced before. A different kind of nourishment often emerges, the kind that offers satisfaction on a very deep emotional level.
Principles of Mindfulness:
• Mindfulness is deliberately paying attention, non-judgmentally.
• Mindfulness encompasses both internal processes and external environments.
• Mindfulness is being aware of what is present for you mentally, emotionally and physically in each moment.
• With practice, mindfulness cultivates the possibility of freeing yourself of reactive, habitual patterns of thinking, feeling and acting.
• Mindfulness promotes balance, choice, wisdom and acceptance of what is.
Mindful Eating is:
• Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing
opportunities that are available through food preparation and consumption by respecting your own inner wisdom.
• Choosing to eat food that is both pleasing to you and nourishing to your body by using all your senses to explore, savor and taste.
• Acknowledging responses to food (likes, neutral or dislikes) without judgment.
• Learning to be aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decision to begin eating and to stop eating.
Someone Who Eats Mindfully:
• Acknowledges that there is no right or wrong way to eat but varying degrees of awareness surrounding the experience of food.
• Accepts that his/her eating experiences are unique.
• Is an individual who by choice, directs his/her awareness to all aspects of food and eating on a moment-by-moment basis.
• Is an individual who looks at the immediate choices and direct experiences associated with food and eating: not to the distant health outcome of that choice.
• Is aware of and reflects on the effects caused by unmindful eating.
• Experiences insight about how he/she can act to achieve specific health goals as he/she becomes more attuned to the direct experience of eating and feelings of health.
• Becomes aware of the interconnection of earth, living beings, and cultural practices and the impact of his/ her food choices has on those systems.
*Source: The Center For Mindful Eating