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Mindful Eating Practices

August 20, 2020

Mindful eating is a wonderful way to nourish our minds and bodies. So often we eat mindlessly, and in doing so we miss our meals, make less than healthy food choices and ignore our bodies’ cues for hunger and satiety. 

Mindful eating is about consciously choosing what to eat and paying full attention to the process of eating. As we do this practice, we may notice that we begin to slow down, to be more fully present with each bite, more aware of our bodies’ cues. Over time we may also find that we make more conscious choices around what we eat, when we eat and why we eat.

Mindful eating involves:

  • Checking in to notice whether or not you are hungry 
  • Eating slowly without multi-tasking (when you eat, just eat)
  • Engaging your senses by noticing colors, smells, sounds, textures, and flavors
  • Whenever you notice that the mind has wandered away from the experience of eating (into planning, worrying, ruminating etc), simply bringing your attention back 
  • Listening to the body’s cues, so you know when you’re full
  • Appreciating your food

Here are some instructions for a formal mindful eating practice: 

  • Take some care while preparing your food – choosing what you want to eat, putting it together on a plate and bringing it to the table. 
  • Giving your full attention to the meal (not multitasking).
  • Before you even take a bite, notice sensations in the body – how hungry are you? 
  • If you’re feeling any tension in the body perhaps you can take some deep breaths before beginning to eat, inviting the body to relax. 
  • Look at the food and take in the colors, shapes, sizes, and textures. Open to the scent of the food.
  • When you are ready, take a mindful bite, chewing slowly and noticing the flavors and textures. 
  • Savor the taste of the food and see if enjoyment arises. 
  • Notice any urgency to eat fast and as much as possible slow down and enjoy the meal. 
  • Any time your mind has wandered away from the direct experience of eating (you find you’re lost in thought) just notice that without judging and bring your attention back to the experience of eating. The mind naturally wanders and the practice is to just bring it back again and again. 
  • Keep paying attention to the body, noticing when you feel full and choosing to stop eating when you are satiated.  

The more you practice mindful eating the more you strengthen your capacity to live in the present moment, to savor your meals and show up fully for your life.  

For more information about mindfulness and the programs that we offer please visit our website: Jeffersonhealth.org/mindfulness.