According to Oxford Dictionary, mindfulness is “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations.” When it comes to eating, being mindful can be powerful step in your recovery.
Dr. Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, states that the average person makes around 250 decisions about food every day. However, most of the decisions we make, we cannot explain.
How does mindfulness relate to eating?
Mindful eating is an increased awareness of eating choices and their effect on hunger/fullness rather than calorie content. It requires asking questions before making choices, and during eating:
Questions to Ask For Mindful Eating:
- Where is my hunger level?
- Am I choosing food based on a specific emotion (ie. need for comfort) or physiological hunger?
- Are my food choices based on a diet mentality (ie. lowest calorie option, or “lightest” option)?
- Is my eating moderately paced? And am I enjoying and noticing the taste of the food?
- Am I distracted while eating?
Mindful eating helps individuals to let go of “good foods” and “bad foods.” It helps us focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle while enjoying food and nourishing the body.
There is no such thing as failing at mindful eating, each meal and snack presents an opportunity to practice and increase awareness.