Mindful eating is a way of eating that applies the principles of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is an ancient practice that focuses on being fully present and engaged at the moment — free of distraction, external thoughts, and feelings from other areas of our lives.
In today’s high-paced society, being mindful has become more important than ever because it can help people cope with stress, anxiety, and depression in a healthy way.
The goal of mindful eating is to build a healthy relationship with food by focusing on how and why you’re eating, rather than simply eating because you feel like you need to.
While mindful eating doesn’t focus on weight loss, many people find that by eating mindfully, they lose weight as a side-effect because they can manage their appetite and emotions better (1, 2, 3).
For example, one study found that people lost an average of 4 kgs (9 pounds) over 12 weeks after participating in a 6-week long group seminar on mindful eating (4).
How to practice mindful eating
If mindful eating sounds perfect for you, it’s easy to get started.
Here are some simple ways you can practice eating mindfully at home:
Chew your food slowly and thoroughly.
Pace yourself, don’t rush your meals.
Eliminate distractions — turn off the TV and put down your phone.
While you’re eating, focus on how food makes you feel.
Ask yourself questions like why you’re eating, if you truly feel hungry, and whether the food you chose is healthy or not.
Stop eating when you’re full.
When you first get started, it’s good to choose one meal per day to focus on these points. Once you get the hang of it, mindful eating will become easier and follow naturally.
Mindful eating works hand-in-hand with mindfulness, so it’s a good idea to practice mindfulness and being present in the moment in other areas of your life as well.
If you’d like to get started with mindful eating, try following some of the tips above.