Mindless vs. Mindful Eating

Mindless vs. Mindful Eating

Have you ever sat down in front of the TV with a bag of potato chips, and before you realized it, the entire bag was gone? You did not mean to eat the entire bag, but your attention was on the television show and not your eating. The result was eating more than you had planned.

You are not alone. People engage in mindless eating for many reasons, including emotions, depression, distraction, or even guilt. Unfortunately, this eating behavior can result in weight gain. If you find yourself mindlessly eating on a regular basis, perhaps giving “mindful eating” a try would benefit you!

Mindful eating is the practice of maintaining full awareness while you eat; focusing totally on your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations while you experience the act of eating.

If you are interested in becoming more mindful when you eat, there are a few simple behaviors to get started:

  • Make eating your primary focus. Turn off the television, your computer, or cell phone and focus fully on the act of eating.
  • Take time to eat. Avoid hurrying through the meal. Take your time and notice the food you are consuming. Focus on how the food feels in your mouth, how the food tastes, and how the food makes you feel.
  • Chew your food. Chewing your food thoroughly is another tool that allows you to focus on your food more closely. Notice how the food feels in your mouth. Are you enjoying the food?
  • Focus on why you are eating. Are you physically hungry or are you eating to simply quell your emotions? Understanding why you eat can help you develop behavior changes that lead to healthier, more purposeful eating.

Mindful eating is another tool you can add to your toolbox to help you change your eating behaviors. It takes time and regular practice for mindful eating to feel natural. However, the benefits of this practice can be truly life changing.