Mindful Eating: 4 Exercises to Get You Started

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Mindful eating.

There has been a lot of news about mindful eating, but you may not be familiar with the actual definition.

Mindful eating is a process that you use to gain control over eating habits. Sometimes you eat when you’re tired, bored, or simply killing time. During those eating rituals, time may seem to pass quickly without your noticing, or even more distressing, you look down and realize that you completely obliterated a bag of snacks that you just purchased that day.

Oops! A perfect example of “mindless eating”.

Mindless eating is eating without even being aware of it or not even necessarily being hungry. It’s simply just putting food into your mouth for reasons that don’t have anything to do with hunger Your brain isn’t even involved either—this leads to you eating WAY more than you had planned.

So, what exactly is mindful eating?

When you are practicing mindful eating, you automatically shift your thoughts from thinking about food to more exploring how you eat and less on what you eat. With mindful eating, you eat food carefully in order to fuel the body.

Here are several tips to help you on the journey to eat more mindfully.

Opposite Hand Test

One way to gain insight into just how often you eat mindlessly, you could just take one week out of your schedule to eat food using your other hand.

Doing this demands that your brain has to be engaged in the act of eating. Because it’s unnatural for you to eat with your other hand, your brain needs to send a message to that hand to pick up the food and place it in your mouth. You would be amazed to realize just how much of mindless eating you do!

Focus on the Meal

Another step to good mindful eating habits is to focus on the meal and on the overall experience. This is to say in a very literal sense to focus on how it looks, what it’s made of, and to notice things about what you’re eating. This will cause you to slow down to truly have control over how much you are eating during your meal. As you learn to savor the taste of the food, rather than shoveling it and swallowing as quickly as possible, you will have an enjoyable experience that allows your body to digest and chew your food effectively.

No Distractions

Many times, it is easy to binge eat food when you’re distracted. This means that when you are first trying to retrain your mind and body to eat properly, it might be a good idea to decrease the amount of distractions such as television or social media when you are sitting down to have a meal. Snack foods are made to tempt the senses and be momentarily enjoyable, but when you take away the focus of eating and allow your hands to go into auto pilot, that could be a path directly to unmonitored eating.

A 20-Minute Pause

When it comes to eating seconds, a good rule to use is the “Wait 20 minutes” before you eat more food rule. Science has been telling people that it takes a small amount of time between the consumption of food and the brain’s ability to register that the food has been eaten. If you wait the full 20 minutes and still feel hungry, there’s a chance that you’re still hungry, but if you got distracted and found some other way to fill your time during the 20 minutes before eating anything, then you just might have been bored.

Does It Work for Everyone?

Not always. The greatest downfall to Mindful eating is that some individuals simply lack the required sensitivity, and therefore may be better suited to a more control-based diet with an emphasis on tracking the nutritional components of what’s eaten.

Conclusion

Mindful eating isn’t a fad or a diet style, which is simply a meal-plan with a deadline. It is instead, an approach to life that ultimately acknowledges the power of proactivity and an awareness of habit, routine, and reactivity to emotional stress and boredom.

Mindful eating teaches individuals to use their intuition and is therefore a practical and life-long approach to achieving positive fitness and health outcomes.

 

I have struggled with mindful eating since the transplant. While on dialysis, my diet was limited – I had to limit my intake of dairy, protein, beans, fluids, and other things (cokes and other dark sodas!). In other words, I was very mindful while eating. Since the surgery, my diet pretty much returned to normal (no blue cheeses, no grapefruit, pomegranate, or cranberries) but my eating habits became a bit more mindless. I was just happy to not have to think about what I was going to eat next…

I am working on the happy medium – being able to eat what I want but controlling my portions!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Loving Life–The Reboot!

Dominique

**The discount code for the Hidrate Spark 2.0 water bottle has been extended until 7/31! Get 10% off a water bottle using the code DOMINIQUEB10 at Hidratespark.**

 

 

Comments

  1. Jessica Joachim

    These are super helpful! I am bad about mindless eating, and it is something I need to change for real! I love the idea of waiting the 20 minutes before going back for 2nds!

  2. Anna

    Mindful eating is something that has been integral in my health journey. I recently lost a ton of weight by just adjusting my eating habits like this

  3. Nessa

    I already heard about that and it was super interesting to read! The worst is when you re bored in the car during a long travel ahah I always want to eat, just bc it gets me more busy, LOL!
    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Omar | FreethinkingGuru.com

    Love the idea of the opposite hand test — when we are fully engaged in the process of eating — we might actually taste some of the processed junk we put in our mouths — and change our minds about it. Very helpful post for breaking habits!

  5. Serena Hale

    I really do like the tips, especially eating with the nondominate hand. I know for a fact that I eat and sometimes pay no attention to it. A shame indeed, but I do it. Time to try eating with the other hand.

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  6. Razena

    I am guilty of many of these mindless eating crimes, especially at work when I am either too busy to focus on what I am eating or work and try to eat with half a brain. I will definitely try to improve on these aspects of my wellness.

  7. aisasami

    I try not to binge eat a lot. I rarely eat sweet or salty snacks except for dessert or a little snack during the midday. I just don’t have the appetite anymore.

  8. Ruth I

    These are great tips. I will surely need try these exercises as I know I need to be more conscious of my health.

  9. Rachel

    Oh! Mindful eating is so important! We’ve been making an effort as a family to eat meals together AT the table. We grew up eating in front of the TV and guess what? Now most of our siblings and parents are obese. I don’t want that for my kids.

  10. Princess Quinn

    This is a great help! Most of the time I am unconscious of what and how big I am eating. I need to start the opposite hand trick.

  11. sammi

    I can relate to how one understands the difference between mindful eating and mindless eating because I became sick couple of times because of mindless eating. Only once one feel the difference after recovery does one realize what you have been doing to your body. I don’t have the freedom to be on a diet of my choice though, but my body is now more sensitive to healthy eating, so I try to have a nutritious diet whenever I can.

  12. Anne Yedlin

    I really appreciated reading this. I’m halfway into a 6 week challange and most of the plan is about the food, and most definitely portions. I have been having a hard time not wanting seconds so the 29 minute rule is very important. Thank you for sharing this!

  13. kumamonjeng

    I workout 5 days a week and into healthy living. My only struggle is eating clean. I really like the tips you share in mindful eating. It helps me to be in control of what I am taking into my body.

  14. Elizabeth O

    This is a really interesting post. I definitely got a few new tips from reading it about mindful eating that I can try out myself.

  15. David Elliott

    I can imagine trying to do everything with the opposite hand would work. Just the fact that you are having to think about eating would change the very nature of the way you were eating. It hopefully would help.

  16. Becca Talbot

    I’ve not really heard of the phrase “mindful eating” before, but I definitely agree with the concept. And you’re right, it’s not a fad or a diet, it’s just being healthy in general x

  17. Jonah

    Definitely what I need! Gotta try this since I’ve been struggling with my eating habit. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  18. Becca Wilson

    Being mindful of what goes into your body is so very important. I love these tips that you have shared to get started.

  19. Nina

    I think I’m bad at the being distracted one! I’m reading this post as I’m eating right now lol. I never thought to eat with my other hand but it makes sense. I should try it!

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