What is mindful eating?

Mindful eating is our second article in our three part series on mindfulness . Mindful eating is a compassionate observation of your eating habits. I mention compassionate because it is a non-judgemental way of getting in touch with your way of eating.

Mindful eating is being aware of what, why and how you are eating. It is the opposite of eating on autopilot. I am often asked if it is possible to become a mindful eater, and my answer is always ,“Yes it is something we can all learn.”

 Selecting food from a whole foods buffet

The stages of mindful eating

In the Eating for You approach there are three stages to eating mindfully.

Often the practice of mindful eating just focusses on the experience of eating. And so many ladies say to me “please don’t ask me to study a raison”!

But there is much more than studying raisons to the practice of mindful eating.

In the Eating for You approach eating starts before the first mouthful and after we have finished eating.

#1 Before we eat

Do you ever pause to consider why you are eating?

Many of the reasons that we eat are not to do with physical hunger.

As Mandy explains.

“I love food. I know in the past I ate only for pleasure.

But now I can walk into my favourite cafe and not even look at the cakes unless I am hungry.

And if I am really hungry I might actually choose a proper meal, not cake!”

So we can eat for many reasons including:

  • Pleasure
  • Stress
  • Boredom
  • Convenience or the clock says so
  • To soothe my emotions

Lady eating a bowl of pumpkin soup

#2 During eating

If we have chosen to eat, this is the time to savour our food – the appearance, colours, aromas, tastes and textures.

The ladies who join me in a mindful eating course or program often say to me,

“Sallyanne, when I eat mindfully, I enjoy the experience and I actually eat less.”

When we eat mindfully, we usually eat at a slower pace and this give our natural hunger – satiety mechanism time to work!

In other words, we notice when we are full.

#3 After eating

Mindful eating occurs every stage of the process when you first pick up on the drive to eat, whilst you are eating and when you have finished your food.

Cues to look out for after eating include:

  • mental focus
  • general energy level
  • digestive symptoms of bloating, pain or excess gas

By monitoring the “after eating” effects, you will soon learn which foods nourish you.

By nourish, I mean you learn which foods make you feel well-fed, provide mental clarity and vitality. The foods that sustain energy for your mind and body.

Four women seated and laughing

Eating mindfully is a gentle process of inquiry

  1. Why am I eating?
  2. What am I choosing to eat?
  3. Is what I am eating working for me?

Be kind and patient with yourself as you reconnect with what your body and mind need from food.

If the Eating for You approach is of interest to you, and you have an eating habit that you are struggling to change, then you might like to join me in a free Eating Habit Profile call.

In 15 minutes we will explore your eating habits and you will leave the call with a clearer understanding of your habit, and your first step towards a way of eating that sustains your health and wellbeing.

Take away the stress of choosing what, when and how much to eat.




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