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  • What is Mindful Eating?

    In recent decades, mindfulness and mindful practices have taken the country by storm. As a result, more and more people are experiencing less stress and more fulfillment in their life by “staying in the moment.” Well, mindfulness can be applied to any area of your life, including, if not especially, eating.

    You may have heard of mindful eating before and assumed it had something to do with eating more slowly and chewing your food longer. And while these two considerations are part of the practice, they only scratch the surface.

    Why Practice Mindful Eating

    You may be wondering why you should even begin to explore mindful eating. Well, the reason that gets a lot of people interested is that the practice can help you to lose weight and easily maintain a healthy weight. This, of course, is helpful to prevent the development of many health problems, but it is not the only reason.

    Health benefits aside, mindful eating increases joy and gratitude in your life. Most people don’t find that they savor their meals but instead wolf them down while mindlessly watching TV or surfing the Internet. Mindful eating reminds you to enjoy your food and, in reality, savor every moment of this life.

    How to Practice Mindful Eating

    If you’re interested in mindful eating, here are some guidelines to help get you started:

    • Refrain from eating because “it’s time,” because you’re bored, or because you are feeling painful emotions. Instead, listen to hunger and satiety cues to guide your decisions on when to eat and how much.
    • Be conscious when creating a shopping list, and don’t just absentmindedly grab items that catch your eye in the grocery store.
    • Use cooking as an opportunity to practice mindfulness. Work on engaging in one task in the moment, instead of watching TV or listening to a podcast when you’re preparing food.
    • Practice gratitude for food you have, the kitchen appliances that help you make the food, and the people you may have to share the food with. Take a moment to appreciate the people that grew the food, distributed it, and brought it to your grocery store shelves.
    • Enjoy each bite of your food. Taste all the flavors and feel the different textures of your food. Don’t forget about your all-important sense of smell, and how that adds dimension to your experience. Eating this way not only adds joy and gratitude to your life, but it helps you to eat more slowly so you don’t overeat.

    Mindful eating is another way to build our mindfulness muscles. It also empowers people to make better food choices through slowing down and enjoying the experience of eating. We encourage you to give mindful eating a try and if you’re interested in building your mindfulness muscles in additional ways, contact us at Riverside Psychology today.