Mindful Eating and how it can change your relationship to food and yourself
Eating mindfully is the practice of bringing your full attention and awareness to the experience of eating. By focusing on the where, how and why of food without judgement can transform our relationship with food.
What is Mindful Eating?
By mindfully eating we focuses on our thoughts, feelings and physical responses related to eating without judgement, guilt or inner dialogue. We then have a better chance of understanding what foods nourish us personally and help us stay healthy. It also connects us with our innate inner wisdom about hunger and satiety.
Mindful eating is not a diet, a radical cleansing or a total turn around of your diet and food choices. However, mindful eating can be a framework to guide you in better choices that could quite possibly lead to weight loss and better health. Being aware that food choices we make to obtain a certain outcome is not truly eating mindfully. Food is not good or bad, it is just food. By pausing to notice the emotions and thoughts we place on certain food choices, we can start to change our behaviour.
Pause for Thought
Mindful eating invites us to be present, by pausing before making choices while shopping, cooking or eating. This leads to better decision-making behaviour on what works for our body at any given time and better outcomes on our personal food choices.
With understanding and compassion toward ourselves and the thoughts and emotions we have with food, there can be change. Many of us look at food as a reward or punishment. We give ourselves a treat because we deserve it, or bring suffering to ourselves through self-denial. This can cause feelings to be suppressed such as hunger pains and feelings of fullness creating an unhealthy relationship with food.
Benefits of Eating Mindfully
To understand our thoughts around food is to realise how much we are influenced by what we think and feel about food. Being mindful gives us the time to explore what beliefs we attach to certain foods. We re-educate ourselves to think of food in a more balanced and sustainable way. We start to enjoy food and create a healthy relationship with food and ourselves.
Several studies have shown that mindful eating helps create positive eating behaviours and often leads to moderate and sustained weight loss. Eating with awareness is about creating a sustainable long-term healthy approach to eating without restrictions. Weight loss and better health are often a bonus to this way of eating. By changing our relationship with food we have the opportunity to lead a healthier and happier life without emotional attachment and stories created around our food.