If you struggle with food and weight, mindful eating may help you make healthier choices.
Paula Serafino-Cross, registered and licensed dietitian at Baystate Health, offers tips.
What is "mindful eating"?
Taking a mindful approach means being fully aware of your mind and body when you’re eating. This approach allows you to make choices about what you eat (or don’t eat) and how much by listening to your body and paying attention to signals of hunger and fullness.
It also means you are focused solely on the process of eating rather than eating while doing other activities such as driving, reading, or watching TV.
Here’s how to start:
Slow down and “savor” your food.
- Use all five senses to enjoy your food.
- Choose just one place in your house to eat, preferably the kitchen or dining room.
- Keep eating a “pure” activity. Turn off the TV and phone and put away books or newspapers.
- Practice mindful eating daily.
- If you find yourself satisfied, stop eating. Give yourself permission to eat again when you are hungry.
Be gentle with yourself
Mindful eating is not judgmental and does not dictate what you should eat. Rather it allows you to listen to your thoughts and decide to respond or not to respond to cravings.
This can be helpful with the myriad of food choices we face daily. For example, if you have a craving for something sweet, you may decide to have a small piece of chocolate, but eat it mindfully. You will be satisfied and in control, whereas if you totally deny yourself, it may backfire and lead to binging.
If you are taking care of your health by trying to eat well but still struggle with food, mindful eating may just be the missing piece of the puzzle!
Read more health tips for the new year.