So You Think You’re Eating Mindfully

Mindfulness is gaining traction as a way to improve personal health and wellness, to treat addictions, eating disorders and other mental illnesses, and even to enhance communication and creativity in major corporations. That’s good news. The not-so-good news is that, in all its trendiness, mindful eating has been misinterpreted and applied in questionable ways. Let’s sort through the hype and figure out what mindful eating really is—and is not.

Mindful eating is NOT a diet.

Diets involve deprivation and inevitably lead to weight gain rather than the intended weight loss. Mindful eating, by contrast, is about eating the foods you want and truly enjoying them. Put simply, mindful eating is the practice of awareness—both internally and externally in the environment—without criticism or judgment.

It involves chewing slowly, paying attention to your body’s cues, and taking in the textures, smells, and appearance of your food. You don’t have to ban all junk food or stop eating at restaurants—you just have to take a few moments to be aware of your experience. Rather than eating more, many people are surprised to find that the wisdom of their bodies naturally leads them to make more balanced food choices.  

Mindful eating IS an exercise in connection.

Most people know the fundamentals of healthy eating. So why do they eat foods that make them feel sick, or eat more than they really want? Because they’re disconnected from what their bodies need. In keeping with the high-speed pace of modern life, we eat faster and have more distractions while eating such as TV, work, driving or talking on the phone, which typically means that we eat more without ever feeling satisfied. Read More