Mindful Eating

Mindfulness – a practice that may encompass various aspects of life: school, work, home, social outings, and many more. Mindfulness is a state of paying attention to the present moment, capturing the thoughts and sensations of the body1.

Picture this. You’re sitting at your desk trying to meet a deadline for an upcoming presentation and reach for an orange from your lunch bag. Distracted by the computer, you eat as you work away. A few moments later, you decide to break off another piece of the fruit – but it’s gone. What happened? Where did it go? Did you enjoy your snack?

In the busy world we live in, it may be difficult to consider eating patterns while trying to get through a hectic day at work. Mindful eating is a tool we can use to live life to the fullest, while staying in tune with your body and its’ needs. Something to remember when trying to eat mindfully is that there are NO food restrictions. Mindful eating is not about WHAT you eat, but more so about HOW you eat. Before eating, ask yourself, “am I hungry?”. Pay attention to your internal cues of hunger and fullness, allowing your body to guide yourself during mealtime2,3. While you are eating, pay attention to the changes you are experiencing in your body. Do you feel your stomach becoming fuller? Is your level of hunger decreasing? How is your perception of taste as the meal progresses? Eliminating distractions (such as the computer) may help in gaining a deeper appreciation for food, and knowing how it affects your body3,4.

Let’s backtrack to that orange from earlier. To practice mindfulness while eating, it requires the use of all five senses: touch, sight, sound, smell, and taste2,3,4. Notice the texture and consistency of the orange, the vibrancy and hues of the flesh as you hold it in your hand. Listen to the sound the orange makes as you peel the fruit, and the scent of the aromas – the fresh fragrance it gives off. Take a bite and indulge in the different flavours you experience as you savour the tangy sweetness of the fruit.

Eating is not just a meal, but an experience. Take the time and savour the foods that you nourish and energize your body with!


References

  1. Bays JC. Mindful eating: A guide to rediscovering a healthy and joyful relationship with food. Colorado: Shambhala; 2009. 240 p.
  2. Pannowitz D. Clinical applications of mindful eating. JATMS. 2015;21(3):168-171.
  3. Smokefreewomen [Internet]. United States: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; [cited 2018 Apr 6]. 8 tips for mindful eating; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://women.smokefree.gov/food-nutrition-nourish-your-body/7-tips-for-mindful-eating.aspx.
  4. Harvard Health Publishing [Internet]. United States: Harvard University; 2016 [cited 2018 Apr 6]. 8 steps to mindful eating; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/8-steps-to-mindful-eating.

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