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Mindful Eating

Conscious Eating

Which is?

Mindful eating derives from the broader philosophy of mindfulness, a widespread and secular practice used in many religions. Mindfulness is an intentional focus on thoughts, emotions and physical sensations in the present moment. Mindfulness is about becoming more aware of, rather than reacting to, someone's situation and choices. Conscious eating means that you are using all your physical and emotional senses to experience and enjoy the food choices you make. This helps to increase gratitude for food, which can improve the overall eating experience. Conscious eating encourages a person to make choices that will be satisfying and nourishing for the body. However, this discourages "judging" a person's eating behaviors, as there are different types of eating experiences. As we become more aware of our eating habits, we can take steps toward behavioral changes that will benefit ourselves and the environment.

How it works

Mindful eating focuses on your eating experiences, body-related sensations, and thoughts and feelings about food, with greater awareness and without judgment. Attention is paid to the foods being chosen, internal and external physical cues, and your responses to those cues. The aim is to promote a more enjoyable dining experience and an understanding of the food environment. A conscious eating model is guided by four aspects: what to eat, why we eat what we eat, how much to eat and how to eat.

Conscious eating

Consider the broader spectrum of the meal: where the food came from, how it was prepared, and who prepared it. Mindfull eating emphasizes internal and external signals that affect how much we eat, how we perceive the appearance, taste, smell of food, and how the body feels after eating the meal.

Seven Conscious Eating Practices

1. Honor the food. Recognize where the food was grown and who prepared the meal. Eat without distractions to help deepen the eating experience.

2. Engage all the senses. Observe the sounds, colors, smells, tastes and textures of food and how you feel when you eat. Take a break periodically to engage these senses.

3. Serve in modest portions. This can help prevent overeating and wasting food. Use a dinner plate no more than 11 inches wide and fill it only once.

4. Enjoy small pieces and chew well. These practices can help slow down the meal and fully experience the flavors of the food.

5. Eat slowly to avoid overeating. If you eat slowly, you're more likely to recognize when you're feeling full or when you're 80% full and can stop eating.

6. Don't skip meals. Going without food for a long time increases the risk of severe hunger, which can lead to a quicker and easier choice of food, which is not always healthy. Setting meals at the same time each day as well as planning enough time to enjoy a meal or snack reduces these risks.

7. Eat a plant-based diet, for your health and the planet. Consider the long-term effects of eating certain foods. Processed meat and saturated fat are associated with an increased risk of colon cancer and heart disease. The production of animal foods, such as meat and dairy products, has a greater impact on our environment than plant foods.

The surveys so far

The opposite of mindful eating, sometimes referred to as mindless or distracted eating, is associated with anxiety, overeating, and gaining weight. Examples of mindless eating are eating while driving, working or watching television or another screen (phone, tablet). While socializing with friends and family over a meal can enhance the eating experience, talking on the phone or answering a work call while you're eating can hurt that. In these scenarios, the person is not fully focused and enjoying the meal experience. Interest in mindful eating has grown as a strategy to eat with fewer distractions and improve eating behaviors.


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