eatingmindfully.com. Dr. Susan Albers had some great insight on Mindful Eating and I wanted to share it with all of you. It's easier to determine if you are a mindful eater if you know what mindful eating is. Here's a great breakdown from Dr. Albers site:
Mindfulness, and more specifically mindful eating, isn't a new concept. In fact, it is centuries old and based on the Eastern concept of mindfulness or “pure awareness.” If you are eating mindfully, you are aware and attentive to all dimensions of eating. It includes mindfulness of the mind, body, thoughts and feelings.
Mindful eating: is about being conscious of why you are eating. Are you hungry? Are you tired? Are you bored?( I've been known to do this a LOT!) There is no menu or recipes to follow. It's about learning HOW and WHY you eat, and less about WHAT you eat. When you are so closely in touch with what is going on inside, you know the exact moment you are satisfied rather than stuffed or starving. To understand the why, what, when and how we eat, we have to be compassionate and nonjudgmental. This allows us to take a closer look at our behavior.
MINDFULNESS of the MIND On a scale of 1-10, how aware am I at this moment? Am I tasting every bite or am I mindlessly chomping away? Observe the taste, texture, smell, and sound of food. This helps you to pay attention to what you are doing. Identify whether you are mindlessly snacking or in touch with every single bite.
MINDFULNESS of the BODY. Listen to your body. Do I pay attention when it says stop? Or, do I ignore my body's feedback. Identify how your body tells you it's hungry and full. Pay attention to hunger pains, a rumbling stomach, your energy level, movement, body posture and muscle tension. If you don't respond, your body could stop giving you important information about how it is doing. Learn to know the difference between emotional hunger (stress eating) and physical hunger.
MINDFULNESS of FEELINGS is noticing feelings that start and stop eating. Anxiety, guilt, stress, comfort, boredom and pleasure are just a few. It's important to get in touch with your emotions. If you don't get a handle on your feelings, Sometimes, coping with your feelings is more important that changing the type of foods you eat.
MINDFULNESS of THOUGHTS. Be mindful of your thoughts. Observe “should” and “should not” thoughts, critical thoughts (I'm so fat!), food rules, "good" and "bad" food categories. Notice how positive and negative thoughts sway your behavior. A thought is just a thought, you don't have to respond to it.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry myth suggests you eat what feels good in-the-moment and use food to de-stress, soothe emotions celebrate. Eating is routine and given little attention.
• Multitasking while eating (watch TV, drive, talk & eat) (Didn't we talk about this? :)
• “Grazing” on food
• Routinely skipping breakfast or meals
• Ignoring hunger and body cues (stomach rumbling, low energy)
• Continue to eat although full (stuffing rather than satiating) (Guilty!)
• Member of the “Clean Plate Club”
• Disregarding nutrition needs
• Avoiding physical symptoms of over or under eating
• “Live to Eat” rather than “Eat to Live” ( I've always wanted to be an Eat to Live girl)
• Use “Comfort Foods”
• Believe you have little or no control
• Shoulds and Shouldn'ts dominate eating
Eat, Drink & Be Mindful is being diligently attentive to your body, mind, thoughts and feelings as you eat. A conscious awareness and attention to food choices, body and nutritional needs. Nonjudgmental, accepting and compassionate toward yourself and others
• Nonjudgmental of self and food choices
• Fully in-the-moment while eating
• Focused attention. Able to bring attention back when it
• Alert and observant of thoughts.
• Able to “let go” of critical thoughts and emotions without
• Diligently watchful of pre and post eating feelings
• Food just is what it is rather than categorized as good and
• Mindful eating is an ongoing journey
• Compassionate toward self and others
• Acceptance of self and body as you are
I hope this article helps all of you to become mindful eaters. Let me know what you think. After reading this do you think you may be a mindless eater? Have we as a society become too busy to slow down, enjoy our food and become more mindful of our meals? Sometimes I wish we could be more like Italy or other countries that still sit down, relax and savor their meals. Let's try it, together!