Mindfulness is the art of paying attention to every moment and the sensations we’re experiencing, without judgment. It’s considered to be a form of medication which can help recognize and embrace emotions or sensations (1).
Mindful eating is done with purpose, focusing on the sensations, flavors, and eating experience. When we adapt a more mindful approach to the food and nutrition choices we make, we naturally become healthier, focusing on overall goals and how we feel. So how can you become more mindful when it comes to food and nutrition?
Since mindful eating involves being present in the moment, it’s helpful to limit distractions such as the TV, computer, or phone time.
If you’re not able to step away from your laptop or are having an intense conversation with someone during a meal, take a breath and tune into the food as best you can.
Being more mindful when it comes to food and nutrition involves considering how the meal will make you feel both in the moment and long term. It’s encouraged to enjoy a treat once in a while, just try to do it mindfully. Recognize the way it makes you feel. Maybe you feel good while eating it, but heavy afterwards. These sensations can be guides to help you figure out what foods make you energized and which make you feel not so good.
Many of us lean on food as a tool to suppress or avoid unpleasant feelings. Unfortunately, it doesn’t fix these underlying feelings, rather it tends to make it worse (2). Consider if you are eating based on true hunger and fullness cues or if it's because you are emotionally eating to avoid something. True hunger tends to come on gradually and stops when we’re full. It also doesn’t always prompt a specific food craving.
Activating our senses (smell, taste, touch, sight, and even sound) is one of the easiest ways to get back into the present moment. When you really tune into how a food tastes or feels, you may be surprised. When you really pay attention, maybe eating a piece of chocolate ends up feeling waxy, or maybe an orange feels cold for instance. Non-judgmentally explore the sensations of the eating experience.
Mindful eating is beneficial for long term health because it focuses on fuel and how it makes us feel, rather than restricting. When we decrease the amount of food we eat, to the point of starvation, it’s been proven that we can’t stop thinking about food. We may also be more distracted, emotional, and tired (3).
Mindfully focusing on food and nutrition helps develop a better relationship with food and how it makes us feel. Mindful eating can help decrease food cravings and binges. When we are fully aware of food choices and the eating experience, it helps increase our satisfaction. It has even been suggested to help reduce the stress hormone, cortisol, and reduce stress eating (4).
Everyone has different eating habits and preferences and mindful eating can help guide you to what makes you feel your personal best. Download Lifesum to discover which type of eating plan is ideal for you; all while practicing mindful eating.
Keep in mind that these tips are for educational purposes only. If you’re struggling with an eating disorder or health issue, be sure to consult your medical provider for extra help.
All of the content and media on Lifesum is created and published for information purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Users should always consult with a doctor or other health care professional for medical advice. If you have or think you are at risk of developing an eating disorder, do not use the Lifesum app and seek immediate medical help.