The Practice & Benefits of Mindful Eating

Did you know mindful eating is a powerful practice that can help you take control of your eating habits?

It can help you lose weight, feel better, and reduce binge eating.

Eating mindfully means you:

  • Eat slowly without distraction
  • Listen to your physical hunger cues
  • Distinguish between actual hunger and emotional triggers for eating
  • Notice the colors, smells, sounds, textures, and tastes of what’s on your plate
  • Cope with guilt and anxiety about food
  • Eat to fuel you, and maintain your health and well-being
  • Notice the effects food has on your feelings and your body
  • Appreciate your food—think about what it took to produce the food you’re eating, from its origins to your plate (like the sun on a farmer’s field, to the grocer, to your kitchen!)

It’s tough to break old habits if you’re used to quickly eating as you’re running off to the next thing in life. Here are some ways to start your mindful eating practice today (and yes, it takes practice). If you’re part of a family, consider talking about mindful eating with them, too.

  • Before you eat, ask yourself why you’re eating—are you hungry or are you eating as a reaction to stress? If you’re not sure, try doing something else first, like walking or reading.
  • Don’t rush your meals—set your kitchen timer to 20 minutes and take the whole time to eat a normal sized meal
  • Use a smaller plate
  • Chew your food really well (try putting your utensils down between each bite and chew 30 times per bite)
  • Use chopsticks if you normally don’t or use your non-dominant hand
  • If you’re at work and eat at your desk, break that habit and take the break you deserve to refuel your body and brain
  • Eliminate distractions so you can focus on your food—that means screens and phones!
  • Stop before you’re full

To find out more about mindful eating and how it can work to control weight, see Healthline’s article.