Just the other day, I was standing at my kitchen counter eating Tostitos chips and chunky salsa directly from the jar when it hit me: I’m not even paying attention to my food. Instead of beating myself up for mindless snacking, I took it as an opportunity to practice mindfulness. Today, I’m sharing 5 mindful eating tips for intuitive eaters to reset and recenter.
What is Mindful Eating?
According to the Center for Mindful Eating mindful eating brings attention to one’s food choice and the experience of eating. It’s all about paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment.
It’s the difference between enjoying crunchy chips and spicy salsa versus scarfing down a bag without even realizing it.
Intuitive eating endorses mindful eating by encompassing principles like honoring your hunger, feeling your fullness, and discovering the satisfaction factor. Simply put, mindful eating can help you along your intuitive eating journey!
5 Mindful Eating Tips for Intuitive Eaters
You don’t have to be completely *zen* at every meal. Give one of these simple tips a try & notice the difference it makes at meals.
1 – Plate your food.
Raise your hand if you stand in the kitchen eating chicken salad right out of the container? I’m guilty of this! Sometimes you’re in a hurry and need to eat on the go. But if your aim is to eat mindfully, plating your food can make all the difference. Imagine sitting down at the table with a balanced plate of chicken salad, crunchy lettuce, bright cherry tomatoes, and slightly salty crackers. Now that sounds much better than scarfing down a few bites from the container, doesn’t it?
2 – Use all 5 senses.
Enhance your enjoyment and mindfulness at meals by eating with all 5 senses. Look at your food and notice the variety of colors (sight). Acknowledge any pleasant aromas (smell). Pay attention to the texture & mouthfeel as you take a bite (touch). Describe the flavor using descriptive words (taste). Is there a sound when you take a bite (auditory)?
3 – Examine your emotions.
How do you feel as you’re eating? Anxious? Stressed? Relaxed? Content? Where do you notice that emotion in your body? Head? Chest? Stomach? Getting in touch with your emotions can provide valuable insight into emotional eating patterns. If you consider yourself an emotional eater, try this simple step of noticing your emotions at mealtimes and identifying any patterns.
Perhaps after a week of observing your emotions, you realize that snacking on the couch always happens when you feel bored. Or eating crunchy snacks while working always happens when you feel stressed. This is the first step to navigating emotional eating.
4 – Check in with your hunger and fullness cues.
As you eat, notice the point where hunger diminishes and fullness emerges. Subtle signs of fullness include:
- Less food-related thoughts
- The taste of food starts to diminish
- A feeling of contentedness
- Slight distention in the stomach
How do you notice when you feel full? The more you pay attention to this, the more you will be able to trust your body’s internal signals!
5 – Try eating with your non-dominant hand.
Eating with your non-dominant hand sounds silly, right? Well, an interesting thing happens when you switch to our non-dominant hand. It turns off *auto-pilot* mode. You’re forced to pay attention to what you’re doing. It naturally slows down your eating and brings focus to the present moment.
Every eating experience is a learning opportunity!
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Tell me in the comments which tip you’re going to try! 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5?