Mindful Eating

November 14, 2019

Deb Guenterberg

“You are what you eat” is a very common phrase used to gently warn people that they should make healthy food choices. Rephrase that a bit and ask yourself, “What are you eating?” This is a simple question, but do you actually pay attention to what you are eating? I mean, really pay attention and think about the aroma, flavor and texture of the food?

A simple approach to being mindful of your eating can be reached by asking yourself these three questions:

  • What do you want? This very well could be the food you are craving.
  • What do you need? This question may or may not get you to pause and think about what your body actually needs at this time. Perhaps you are famished and you are craving chocolate or a sweet, but you know your body needs an entire meal full of a lean protein, healthy fat and a large serving of vegetables.
  • What do you have? If you are home, then you may have both a healthy meal and snacks at your fingertips and some of the foods you crave most.

Perhaps stopping and asking yourself these questions will help you to choose with awareness and eat with intention instead of mindlessly snacking on your craving.

Mindful eating does not equate to perfect eating. Perfection is not the goal as certain fad diets expect you to be perfect. Instead, mindful eating allows you to eat all foods. Did you read that right? Let’s repeat. All foods are allowed, but being mindful of where you are on the “hunger and fullness scale” is a key component to finding success with this eating style. The goal of this scale is to try and eat when you’re at a 3 to 4 level and to stop eating when you are at a 5 to 6.

The Hunger and Fullness Scale

  1. Ravenous
  2. Starving
  3. Hungry
  4. Pangs
  5. Satisfied
  6. Full
  7. Very Full
  8. Discomfort
  9. Stuffed
  10. Sick

Source: Dr. Michelle May’s book, “Eat what you Love, Love what you Eat”

If the “Eat-repent-repeat” cycle categorizes how you feel on a daily basis, perhaps mindful eating is an option to consider. Perfection is not the goal of mindful eating. Knowing that ahead of time can be so reassuring and comforting.

If you would like to learn more about mindful eating, visit thecenterformindfuleating.org or amihungry.com.

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