Mindfulness

One of the main principles behind the Non-Diet Approach and Intuitive eating is mindful eating. Mindful eating is about being aware of what you eat, the process of eating and how it makes you feel both physically and mentally. It encourages you to slow down and enjoy eating, to fully taste the food you are consuming and it aims to reduce feelings of guilt and shame.

 

As the name suggests, mindful eating is based on mindfulness. So what exactly is mindfulness you may ask? And how can it help you on your journey to improved health?

 

Put simply, mindfulness is:

  • Focusing on the present moment
  • Being aware and accepting
  • Not worrying about the past or speculating about the future

 

Mindfulness originated as a Buddhist practise and involves experiencing the present moment with acceptance and without reaction. In today’s crazy fast paced world, we tend to easily switch to autopilot mode to complete tasks such as driving home, cleaning the house and having a shower. This allows us to complete the job at hand whilst our mind wanders to other thoughts, but this can sometimes lead to us getting “stuck” in our own heads. Rather than paying attention to the present moment, we may get caught in a cycle of worrying thoughts, criticisms and judgements. By bringing awareness back to the present moment and being mindful, we can be freed from this cycle of over-analysing.

 

A very common activity to do mindlessly is eating. Too often we disconnect from the experience, eat out of habit, perhaps in front of the TV where our mind pays attention to the show, not the food. We are then left with a taste in our mouth without having properly experienced the process of eating. So we go back for more.

 

Mindful eating can assist with reducing overeating simply by paying attention to the process of eating. By eating mindfully, you are more aware of your hunger and fullness signals and are more likely to stop eating before you reach that stage of feeling extremely uncomfortable. You may also find that certain foods you usually eat don’t taste as great as you remember when you start paying attention to them.