On the surface, eating seems like a simple task we engage in multiple times a day. Food is the fuel we use to fill up our bodies so that we can perform. The complicating factor for most people is that food does more than just provide nutrition. Often, food is eaten (or not eaten) to compensate for underlining reasons in our lives. Mindful eating is a concept that will enable us to rediscover the true meaning behind food and eating. By learning how to understand and use the techniques of mindful eating, food can become less of an emotional piece and more of the fuel our bodies need.
What is Mindful Eating?
Below are some helpful bullet points to assess whether you are a mindful eater and what you can do to work toward becoming one:
• Learning to make choices during a meal based on awareness of hunger and satiety cues
• Identifying personal triggers for mindless eating, such as emotions, social pressures, or certain foods
• Valuing quality over quantity of what you’re eating
• Appreciating the sensual, as well as the nourishing, capacity of food
• Feeling deep gratitude that may come from appreciating and experiencing food
• Looking at food from a grey perspective instead of categorizing food into black and white or “good and bad”
• The opposite, mindless eating, is the concept of not putting any thought into what you eat
Separating food and emotion can be among our biggest challenges. We often associate happiness or sadness with under-eating or over-eating. Once you are able to separate the two and look at food for what it is, figuring out when to eat, what to eat, and how much to eat can become much clearer and a enjoyable experience. For more information, visit The Center for Mindful Eating (www.tcme.org)