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How to Set Up a Daily Mindful Eating Practice: Nine steps to developing mindful eating skills.

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Mindful eating includes many aspects: awareness of hunger, fullness, taste, and choice. This practice focuses primarily on the taste experience.

Make the commitment. Set aside a few minutes each day to practice mindful eating. Start with committing to eating one meal or snack mindfully each day—or even one part of a snack or meal—and then increase the amount of time every week or two, until you find you can do this with every meal or snack. If possible, try to choose a time when you can focus your attention, without a lot of distraction such as loud music or interruptions.

Keep it simple and offer your full attention.

Make a simple food choice. It’s helpful to begin a mindful eating practice with a small amount of one type of food that is not a trigger food for overeating (a food that doesn’t stimulate the desire to overeat). For example, a simple food choice may be a carrot, one or two grapes, or slices of banana. As mindfulness grows and deepens, choose more challenging foods, such as a few chocolate chips or cookies.

Offer your full attention. Begin by picking up and holding the piece of food, such as a grape, in your hand. Allow your senses to become alive: smell the grape, notice its contours, shape, colors, how it feels in your palm, between your fingers. When the mind wanders to thoughts of the past or future, gently bring it back to the grape. There is no other grape like it in the universe. Then, mindfully lift your hand and place the grape in your mouth.

Be mindful of thoughts and feelings. There may be anticipation: “It’s going to be so good. I hope there’s more.” Or, maybe there is a feeling of disappointment: “It’s only a grape, not a brownie.” Let the thoughts come and let them go.

Notice flavors come and go. As you begin to chew, notice the burst of flavor, the tartness, the sweetness, as the grape breaks down in your mouth. Notice that just as the flavor begins to fade, there may be a strong desire to want another grape, even when you’re still

See if you can stay with the sensations as the grape reaches your tummy, and recognize that you have taken in the food value and nutrition of one grape.

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