Have you ever looked at a packet of crackers or nuts only to realised you’d made your way through half a packet? Or taken snacks to work and realised you weren’t really peckish only after you’d nibbled your way through them? Time to eat more mindfully and Dietitian Holly Edstein (@thehollysticdietitian) is here to tell us how.
So what exactly is mindful eating?
Mindful eating revolves around the practice of mindfulness, which essentially encompasses deliberate focus on our internal and external environments. This focus promotes awareness, and awareness enables us to make informed decisions i.e. what to eat or how much to eat.
How will mindful eating help me achieve my nutrition goals?
The use of mindful eating encourages eating with instinct and intuition, just like we did when we were kids – babies cry when they are hungry and stop eating when they are full. This instinct is seemingly lost for many of us as we develop into adults, and much of our eating is dictated by external factors.
The concept of mindful eating is to eat with conscious attention to all senses – sight, smell, taste, touch and sound. That way, we allow ourselves to truly enjoy every mouthful of our food. This approach aims to bring enjoyment to eating and to eliminate any existing restrictions, guilt and/or punishment that we may associate with eating.
Holly’s 7 tips to eat more mindfully:
- Eat meals in absence of distractions e.g. TV, phone, laptop.
- Dedicate adequate time for meals (ideally, at least 20 minutes).
- Avoid eating “on-the-go” where possible e.g. while driving.
- Identify your specific hunger signals (e.g. grumbling tummy) & “just satisfied” signals (e.g. contentment), and then check in with your hunger & fullness levels before and after meals.
- Know that if you are full, you do not need to finish everything on your plate. Put the leftovers back in the fridge and save it for later.
- Conversely, if you are still genuinely hungry after finishing your meal, you are allowed to eat some more.
- Remember that mindful eating takes practice to master – be persistent and patient, change will come.
Anxious about food? This article from Dietitian Lyndi Cohen could help.
Holly Edstein is an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) and Sports Dietitian, who studied a Bachelor of Exercise & Sport Science and a Masters of Nutrition & Dietetics at the University of Sydney. She is passionate about using nutrition to enhance the performance of individuals and groups in all areas of life. Check her out on Instagram, @thehollysticdietitian, or Facebook, Holly Edstein Dietitian.