BASICS of Mindful Eating

Here are the BASICS of Mindful Eating. These are guidelines (not rules) to help you become conscious about how, what, when and why you eat. Follow them as best you can and as often as you can, knowing that there will be times when it will be next to impossible to eat this way.

However, there will be lots of opportunities for you to practice (we eat everyday!). Let these BASICS guide you to a way of eating that pleases your taste buds and supports your body’s health. Play with taking one BASIC a week and letting it guide how you eat.  For a video of the BASICS, please click here Basics of Mindful Eating

BASICS of Mindful Eating

Breathe and Belly Check for hunger and satiety before you eat.

Assess your Food

Slow Down

Investigate your hunger and satiety throughout the meal

Chew Your Food Thoroughly

Savor Your Food

B – Breathe and Belly Check for hunger and satiety before you eat.

First of all, take a few deep breaths as you begin to check in with your belly.  Are there sensations of physical hunger? How hungry are you?What are you hungry for? Is there a particular type of food you’d like to have? You might want food. You might be thirsty. You might be hungry for something entirely different than food (eg. walking, stretching, more deep breaths).  Listen to what your body is telling you.  General rule: eat when you’re hungry, don’t eat when you’re not hungry.  Find out what your body is telling you by  breathing and doing a belly check.

A – Assess your Food

What does it look like? Notice the colors of the food. Does it look appealing? What does it smell like? Where does it come from? Is it a food you can recognize (e.g. natural and unprocessed) or is it a food-like substance (e.g. so processed you don’t know where it comes from)?  Ask yourself if this is the food you really want. You don’t have to take a lot of time with this. A brief pause to assess your food can give you lots of information about it.

S – Slow Down

Slowing down while you are eating can help you enjoy your food more fully. Slowing down also helps you be aware of when you’re getting full and to notice when the body has had enough.  Simple methods to help you slow down include putting down your fork or spoon between bites, pausing and taking a breath between bites, and chewing your food completely. 

I – Investigate your hunger throughout the meal

To be a mindful eater, it is important to be aware of your distractions and to keep bringing your attention back to eating, tasting, and assessing your hunger and satiety throughout the meal.  It is particularly useful to stop half-way through your  meal and take a moment to check in with your belly.   You  may      dscover that you’re no longer hungry even though there’s food on your plate or you may discover you don’t even like the food you’re eating.   Give yourself permission to stop or to continue based on how hungry you are, not old rules like “you need to clean your plate.”

C – Chew Your Food Thoroughly 

Chewing your food thoroughly help you to slow down and your body to digest the nutrients from your food more efficiently. As a result, you will have time to really taste your food and be tuned into the signals that your hunger is dissipating. The sooner you are aware of satiety, the less likely it will be that you will over-eat.

S – Savor Your Food

Savoring your food means taking time to choose food you really like and food that would satisfy you right now. To truly savor your food, you choose food that honors your taste buds and your body.

Become fully present for the experience of eating and the pleasure that it can bring. Let all of your attention be on the complete range of sensations available in each bite and feel the joy. If you can’t savor it, why eat it?

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8 Responses to BASICS of Mindful Eating

  1. thank you for this insightful summary of all elements of intuitive eating!
    i have taken the liberty of reblogging and translating the BASICS into german in my blog: http://janetsbody.blogspot.com/2012/04/die-eat-for-life-methode.html
    i hope you don’t mind. please let me know.

    greetings from austria! *j

  2. I start the mindful eating class tomorrow through MU and am very excited about learning to appreciate food differently. I already love food but, I think, maybe be for the wrong reasons. I am teachable!!

  3. Hi,
    First I have to say that you are doing a very nice work on the blog and the website!
    Your texts are very easy to anderstand even for a french girl with a pretty bad english!
    I can say I have definitly learned a few things about food by reading your articles!
    Keep up the good work.
    Greetings from France
    Kim

  4. For me the mindful eating comes to these things:
    - Eat simple and natural foods
    - Eat always at the same time
    - Eat only when you have hunger
    - Eat twice less than you want when you are very hungry
    - Chew thoroughly
    - Don’t drink anything right after the meals.
    There can be more points, of course, but these just came to my mind right now.
    Thanks for the article!

  5. Very good article. I definitely appreciate this site. Keep writing!

  6. Your “Basics of Mindful Eating” is a wonderful tool for putting ourselves in the proper mindset before and during our meals. If I may suggest one addition that we’ve adopted at home it is “B” for blessing. We give thanks to all those involved in the creation and preparation of our food by reciting a blessing both prior to and after each meal.

  7. When I started practicing yoga, after some time I noticed that what I want to eat is usually what’s good for my body too. It seemed like a harmony had been established between my likes and my needs, so in general I ate healthy foods. I never studied how to combine foods properly, but this knowledge (at least to some degree) came to me through yoga. So this is my mindful eating.

  8. Pingback: Mindful Eating | Exempla Center for Integrative Medicine

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