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Mindful Eating

Content by: Jamie Rinaldi, RD, MS in Applied Physiology & Nutrition

Mindful Eating

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Mindful eating is being aware of what you are eating, why you are eating, when you are eating and where you are eating. Paying attention to your meal or snack and savoring each bite is a great way to avoid overeating.

It's important to engage all the senses in order to truly appreciate food. Here are some questions to consider:
👀 SIGHT: What does your food look like?
👃🏽 SMELL: How do you describe the smell?
👅 TASTE: What does the food taste like?
✋🏽 TOUCH: How do you describe the texture?
👂🏽 SOUND: Listen to your body. Are you still hungry? Satisfied? Uncomfortably full?

The opposite of Mindful eating? Mindless eating!

Mindless eating is plowing through a bag of potato chips or a pint of ice cream while watching television. It often results in guilt and regret for not enjoying the food. Distraction causes mindless eating. The same goes for texting or talking on the phone or working while eating. Consider these common habits when there are challenges in losing weight.

Keeping a thorough physical food diary is an effective tool for mindful eating. It creates awareness. Consider the reasons for eating, the times of day and trigger events for different food choices and more.

Documenting everything consumed offers insights to the diet. It's often easy to make healthier choices or decide not to eat certain foods. People who keep a food journals tend to eat less, make better food choices and are more likely to manage their weight and health.

Suggestions for a Food Log:
● List all items eaten and the quantities.
● Identify where (e.g. in the car, at the kitchen table, in a restaurant).
● Alone or with family or friends?
● Were there distractions while eating (e.g. working, checking email, chatting).
● What time?
● Feelings before or after eating (e.g. bored, starving, bloated, stressed, stuffed, itchy).

The more information in the food diary, the more insights. Food diaries help identify what affects food choices. Identify beneficial changes in eating habits and help prevent undesirable consequences like reflux or guilt. Make sure to evaluate variety and nutritional value.

Practicing mindful eating through food tracking not only makes people aware of eating habits, but also increases food appreciation.

Next Steps:

1️⃣ Click the (arrow or PDF) button to find a mindful eating journal.
2️⃣ Walk through expectations for journaling.
3️⃣ Tweak any section of the journal to match the individual's needs.

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How can mindful eating help prevent individuals from overeating? Read the article to find out more and utilize the mindful eating journal to create a sense of awareness.

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