7 Mindful Eating Tips (or Ways To Get More Pleasure Out of Your Food)

When it comes to eating, it’s really easy to “check out” or be in a rush or be distracted by multiple things instead of sitting down to savor and enjoy a meal.

When it comes to binge eating, being mindful of your bites is definitely not easy. In my experience, that’s the last thing I wanted to do. I always checked out when I was on a binge…eating quickly, eating one thing and then another, feeling like a vacuum with no stopping. I didn’t want to acknowledge the food I was eating.

Shifting to mindful eating took practice and intention, as with developing any new habit. Once I had broken my habit of binge eating, I wanted to re­create my relationship with food.

I had hated food for so long (though I loved it, but I hated that I loved it and hated myself for loving it) that I couldn’t imagine eating without feeling rigid, anxious, shameful or guilty. With practice, it got easier…and I authentically started enjoying food.

Many social and environmental factors can stand in the way of being able to accurately determine your body, mind and emotional feedback…all part of mindfulness. Mindfulness helps you break free from routine eating habits by examining the thoughts, feelings and internal pressures that affect how and why you eat (or don’t eat).

Here’s 7 tips to help with mindful eating…or to get more pleasure out of your food:

1. Shift Out of Autopilot

What did you eat at your last meal? Was it the same thing you had yesterday at the same meal? Did you eat because of the time on the clock, or because you were actually hungry?

2. Take Mindful Bites

Rather than just using your sense of taste, use your other senses to enjoy your food as well: touch, smell, sight. Breathe in the food before you eat it. Look at the way the light hits the texture of the food. Notice the way it feels on your tongue: the texture, temperature and how it dissolves.

3. Attentive Eating

If you want to eat while doing other things, it’s easy to rationalize grabbing something while you’re reading, or studying or watching something. Especially if you’re strapped for time, or you need to stay up all night studying…it makes sense to eat while doing something else. But catch yourself. Pull back, walk away to eat for 5­-10 minutes. Let your mind settle and focus on eating.

4. Checking In

Ask yourself what you’re feeling emotionally, physically and mentally before you eat, during and after. Why are you eating? What’s your hunger level? If you’re eating and you’re not hungry, it’s really hard to gauge your hunger level to know when to stop. Ideally, you want to reach a point of feeling “enough.” Not full, not hungry…just enough. Check in to know where that is: on a scale of 1­10, enough is probably a 6­7.

5. Talking Mindfully

Watch to see how you talk about eating. Chatting with friends or family about diet or body weight or putting oneself down is quite commonplace. We do it socially without thinking much about it (e.g. “I should never have eaten that whole plate!” or “I’m so fat/No, you’re not…”).

These words can have a greater impact than you realize, either on yourself or someone sensitive to food issues. Notice your words about food and how they change the way you feel.

6. Mindful Thinking

Like observing your conversation about eating, even more critical are your own thoughts. They’re also harder to notice, because you’re so used to them. They’re normal. Are you telling yourself negative things about food or your body? (e.g. “I’m so weak, I can never stick to a diet!” or “I look so fat in this dress!”)

Those negative comments to yourself create an energetic response in your body. You project the energy you’re carrying within outward to the world. If you’re feeling fat and sloppy, you’re likely carrying yourself and dressing that way. That will affect how you treat yourself and how you eat. There’s always going to be moments where you feel more critical than others, but notice when you’re doing that to yourself. Be willing to acknowledge that you’re the one making judgements, and you’re the one that can stop.

7. Eating Support

Friends and family can provide an enormous amount of support…or they can be the very people that keep you stuck in a rut. If you don’t feel comfortable or supported by the ones around you, it’s often helpful to seek other support. Find a workshop locally or online, read books, find online support groups and forums or talk to a professional.


For more eating resources and a FREE video course to help break through binge eating, visit http://www.bingeeatingbreakthrough.com.

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