Content provided by the GBS Health & Wellness Team
From the Dietitian’s Desk
With Becca Rick, MS, RD
The seemingly never-ending distractions of everyday living can pull attention away from things that matter most, but how does this play into our eating habits? It’s easy to draw attention away from eating with diversions, like watching TV or switching through phone apps, to the point where eating loses all conscious attention and in turn may lose its enjoyment as well.
Mindful eating is a practice centering around the capacity to bring awareness to thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations involved with eating. It allows one to reconnect with the innate ability to recognize hunger and satiety.
Someone who eats mindfully is able to:
- Understand there is no right or wrong way to eat, but rather recognizes the varying degrees of awareness around eating.
- Accept that their eating experience is individualized and does not need to be compared to others.
- Feel confident in making food choices that support health, well-being, and individual preference.
How do you practice mindful eating?
- Eat away from screens and other distractions.
- Pause before diving into a meal to appreciate the food itself, the ambience, or even the company of others sharing the meal.
- Continually use the five senses to take in the appearance, smell, sounds, texture, and flavor of the meal.
- Set down eating utensils in between bites to check in. Focus on the eating experience, rather than racing to finish the meal.
Ask the following questions to get familiar with practicing mindful eating during mealtimes:
- “Do I make an effort to taste each bite of food before moving on to the next?”
- “Can I recognize when I slip into a mindless eating state (zoned out, popping food into my mouth)?”
- “What is the taste, texture, and feel of the food I am eating?”
- “How might I feel if I took another bite of this meal? Still hungry? Satisfied? Stuffed?”
It is okay if these concepts don’t feel intuitive at first; continual practice will help sharpen one’s ability to be a mindful eater. However, if mindful eating starts to feel overly difficult or is challenging any deeper struggles around food or eating, consider making an appointment with a registered dietitian and/or licensed therapist to explore further.