How to Practice Mindful Eating

By Brook Rivera, HHC

Traversing the world of nutrition – what to eat and what not to eat – can be overwhelming, confusing, and downright frustrating.  Experts offer advice that contradicts one another, words on packages stretch the truth (or just lie), and what’s good for you one day is found to be harmful the next.  If anything my nutrition education has taught me, it is to read with an open mind and a discerning eye.  But it has also taught me to listen to my body.  I cannot express this sentiment enough.  Listen to your body.  It knows best, better than any expert. You are an individual with unique needs and preferences.  Your genetics, stress levels, exercise habits, where you live, where you work, what type of cancer you have…all play into what constitutes your ideal diet.

I realize that getting in touch with what your body is telling you doesn’t happen overnight.  It’s a process, but one that will serve you well in the long run.  Here are some steps to get you started:

  • Before you actually bite into something, ask yourself why you are choosing to eat this food.
  • Practice mindful eating by giving your full attention to your food.  No TV, reading, driving, arguing, or walking down the street.  Smell it, feel the texture of it in your mouth, really taste it.  Chew slowly and with purpose.
  • If eating out, instead of looking at the menu to decide what you want to eat, check in with yourself BEFORE you look at the menu, to see what you are really craving.
  • Rely on your common sense. In general, you intuitively know when you should or shouldn’t be eating something.
  • Remember a few basic principles of good nutrition.  It’s hard to go wrong with vegetables.  The evidence that plants promote health is overwhelming.
  • Experiment with different food choices.  How will you ever know if a food suits you unless you actually try it.  If you don’t like one food, try another!  There are too many options out there to be eating the same thing day in and day out.

Our nutritional classes at Wellness Within are a great way to try out different foods and ways of preparing foods, to find out what suits you best.  And we are always available to talk to if you need a guiding hand.

Now go out and take charge of your health!

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