The Slow Art of Mindful Eating
I often discuss MINDFUL EATING when working with clients to help encourages healthier and happier eating habits.
There have been plenty of positive studies on mindful eating to help with diabetes control, obesity, binge eating, weight loss and other chronic eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. I also believe that practicing mindfulness when eating can help improve your healthy eating habits and also reduce the stress of healthy eating and orthorexia (an obsession with eating foods that one considers healthy).
So what is Mindful Eating?
Simply put, mindful eating is just about being present in yourself (body and mind) when you eat. It sounds easier than it is for some people. However with a bit of practice you can really master the art of it and notice the difference in your eating behaviour and attitude towards food.
Eating Disorders Victoria define Mindful Eating as “a simple-to-learn life skill which can lead people to enjoy a satisfying, healthy and enjoyable relationship with food. It is a skill that can help people break free from ‘food rules’ and begin to enjoy healthy, flexible and relaxed eating practices. Mindful eating is not a diet. Mindful eating is about the way we eat, not what we eat.“
Helping my clients break free of food rules and constant dieting is so important to me. Really encouraging a balanced and healthy attitude towards eating is the freedom my clients need to feel better about themselves and the healing process they are going through.
Too hear too often my clients worrying about food being “bad” or “good” and this can sometimes lead to an unhealthy obsession with not only what is on your plate, but how it affects your body and makes you look.
Orthorexia is so common these days, and not just with young women as was commonly thought. Men, women and children of all ages are susceptible to having fears about food and whether it is good enough for you. Working through mindful eating can really support these worries and help to free yourself from concerns.
Overeating, poor food choices and addictions to snacking can all be helped with some mindful eating. If you feel you’re always making the wrong choices when it comes to your food then reaching out for help can be your first step. Seeing a nutritionist to help balance your blood sugar, support your mood and help establish a balanced approach to eating will help you a lot. Speaking with a trained psychologist to help understand why you’ve developed a poor relationship with food will also be extremely beneficialtt.
Mindful Eating Exercises
There are many resources you can use to gain mindful eating practices.
- This article has a great list of must-read books all about mindful eating.
- You can enrol is workshops like Headrest’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course – an 8-week exploration of all things mindful. I can highly recommend it.
- You can practice the famous RAISIN MINDFUL EATING EXERCISE – a great way to explore food and really think about what it is.
- Get into the habit of really savouring the first mouthful of each meal – smell it, examine it closely, smell it, then taste it – moving it around in your mouth all the while taking note on how it makes you feel.
Hannah is a nutritionist and herbal medicine practitioner in Sydney’s Inner West. She specialises in wholefood eating, mental health, plant-based diets and hormone balancing. Book an appointment with her today to help free yourself from food addition and develop a healthy, balanced approach with your plate.