Mindful eating – using the tenets of mindfulness meditation while eating, has done nothing less than transform mind-body nutrition. Practitioners everywhere are incorporating it because it helps our clients change what they eat. Simple as that!
What is Mindful Eating?
Mindful eating is a type of meditation wherein you focus your attention on the sensory and other aspects of eating with an attitude of non-judgmental awareness. In essence, you slow down, eat with all five senses and stay curious about the process, about the food, and about your own relationship with food.
When I work with an individual, I almost always combine clear steps to bring food and lifestyle into balance (the what of lifestyle) with mindfulness (the how of lifestyle).
Since I’ve become a student of mindful eating myself, I enjoy my food more, often eat less, and am more satisfied. It takes longer to eat, (and to do the dishes as I really slow down), but I’m happier. Thich Nhat Hanh (who said he’s happier when he washes this teapot as though it were the baby Buddha or Jesus) is right.
The research community agrees that mindful eating is an effective tool. It can help promote a healthy natural weight (1) and curb destructive emotional eating (2). While the science is still young, it is evolving quickly – we are learning more about it all the time.
For emotional eating, mindful eating has been found to be most effective when combined with other behavior change techniques like coaching with a qualified nutrition professional. For effective weight management, again, mindful eating is most effective when it is done within a more comprehensive nutrition program and delivered by a well-trained professional.