Be Mindful, Not Mindless
Written by: Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Kim Feinstein, Red Mountain Weight Loss®’s Behavioral Weight Loss Specialist
What is “mindfulness”?
Have you ever heard the expressions “be in the moment” or “be in the here and now”? These are different ways of saying, “be mindful of the present moment.” According to the Center for Mindful Eating (www.tcme.org/principles.htm), mindfulness can also be defined as deliberately paying attention, non-judgmentally to the present moment. It is slowing down and being aware of what is present for you mentally, emotionally, and physically in each moment without judgment or criticism. With practice, mindfulness cultivates the possibility of freeing yourself from habitual, unsatisfying and unskillful habits and behaviors. Ultimately, mindfulness promotes balance, choice, wisdom and acceptance of what it.
What is “mindful eating”?
When it comes to eating, mindfulness involves many components such as learning to make choices in beginning or ending a meal based on awareness of hunger and satiety cues; learning to identify personal triggers for mindless eating, such as emotions, social pressures, or certain foods; valuing quality over quantity of what you’re eating; appreciating the sensual, as well as the nourishing, capacity of food; feeling deep gratitude that may come from appreciating and experiencing food, choosing to eat food that is both pleasing to you AND nourishing to your body, and learning to respect your own inner wisdom.
The Center of Mindful Eating suggests someone who eats mindfully:
- Acknowledges that there is no right or wrong way to eat but varying degrees of awareness surrounding the experience of food;
- Accepts that his/her eating experiences are unique;
- Is an individual who by choice, directs his/her awareness to all aspects of food and eating on a moment-to-moment basis;
- Is aware of and reflects on the effects caused by unmindful eating;
- Experiences insight about he/she can act to achieve specific health goals as he/she becomes more attuned to the direct experience of eating and feelings of health
Mindful eating is about slowing down, doing one thing in the moment, and noticing the entire eating experience without judgment. Mindful eating is a multifaceted experience that involves your body, heart, and mind. It is paying attention when choosing, preparing, and eating food. It is through mindful eating, that you can develop a healthier relationship with food.
TIPS TO HELP YOU STOP THE MINDLESS EATING
- Switch hands: eat with your non-dominant hand.
- Turn your fork upside down: lessening your chance of scooping large portions of food in one bite.
- Try chopsticks
- No multitasking: make sure the phone is not at the table and the TV is off.
- Put utensils down between bites
- Slow down: It’s a meal, not a race!