Eat Mindfully For Health And Enjoy Food

Three very good reasons to eat mindfully are, you want to feel and be healthier, and stop overeating as you are aware that you are eating for non-hunger reasons, due to stress boredom and emotions.

This post is the first in our series exploring the top three reasons Eating for You clients choose to eat mindfully.

Four ladies laughing and holding icecream cones

How do I eat mindfully?

This is a frequently asked question!

Let’s make sure we all understand what it means to eat mindfully.

Mindful eating starts from your very first desire to eat. Mindfulness reconnects you with your drivers or reasons for eating, of which hunger is just of them.

Connecting with your reasons for eating means you have the opportunity to choose whether to eat or do something else.

For Beth, boredom eating has been a habit that she has been trying to overcome for years. Through the practice of mindful eating, Beth can now pause before she reaches for food and check whether food is what she really needs.

She says,

“I keep a list of things to do when I am bored. I have actually taken up swimming again, because it was one of the Eating for You suggested things to do, and I really enjoy it!”

Eating mindfully, also means being totally present for the eating experience—noticing the aromas, flavours, and textures of food, and tuning into your hunger level.

As Sue recently shared,

“I was offered chocolate after dinner, and said no because I wasn’t hungry.”

Mindful eating also supports you to notice how you feel after eating, and reflect on whether your choices nourished you.

The practice encourages you to pause, connect, observe and transform eating habits with patience and without judgement.

During the Mindful Eating and Living Program Nicky decided to give up alcohol, because she realised that her glass of wine a night was not supporting her health.

“I realised that my glass of wine made me feel foggy in the mornings and that my body deserves better. Since I have given up alcohol and started tuning into my hunger level I have more energy.”

“I realised that my glass of wine made me feel foggy in the mornings and that my body deserves better.”

Lady eating a bowl of salad outdoors

Eat mindfully for health

Everyone who contacts Eating for You has a health goal, whether it be to lose weight, feel healthier or improve their energy levels.

Mindful eating takes a different approach to eating for health.

Rather than focussing on the foods that you choose, it connects you with your eating habits.

By transforming your reasons for eating e.g. boredom, stress, convenience and pleasure, and tuning into how your food choices make your mind-body feel,

You can make lifelong changes to the way that you eat and the foods that you choose.

For Mary,

“What I find is that the mindful eating questions pop into my head when I reach for more chocolate or cheesecake, and I stop eating.

So, I am really thinking about why I am eating and noticing that I can stop when I am not hungry. This is a big change for me.

In the past, when I was on a dieting program, there were so many ‘red light’ foods, restricted foods, that I couldn’t stop eating.

But now I am slowly finding that I can do it. This has been a real change in a lifetime habit and I’m very grateful.

So, I am really thinking about why I am eating and noticing that I can stop when I am not hungry. This is a big change for me.

Lady smiling and holding a red apple

Research on mindful eating

Research has been conducted for body weight, diabetes, disordered eating and for diagnosed eating disorders.

I would also like to mention that mindful eating has been a central practice of Ayurveda, tradition medical practice from India.

Here are 10 of the main benefits identified through scientific research.

#1 Reduced overeating due to stress and other emotions.

#2 Selection of an appropriate portion size of food.

#3 Supportive of digestion.

#4 Assists in the reduction of  symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

#5 Lowering of  blood glucose levels for people with type 2 diabetes.

#6 Improvement in self-image and body weight.

#7 Reduction in overeating and binge eating.

#8 Improvement in focus, on the eating experience and other activities.

#9 Builds confidence in choosing nourishing foods, without the rules of “good” and “bad”.

#10 Makes eating an enjoyable experience.

You might also like to read my post on mindful eating and body weight here.

My next post will explore mindful eating, hunger and appetite.

Register your interest in our new 12 week online Spring Mindful Eating Program here.

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