Practice Mindful Eating

The path to healthy body, and happy soul is based upon self-study, mindfulness, love and awareness. Understanding our relationship to eating cultivates a lot of insights and help us start living our highest potential. We are all children that need nurturing, love and care. So give your inner child that nurturing and love, give yourself back the joy of preparing healthy and nutritious meals, joy of experiencing food without TV, reading, working, rush.[1]


Slowing Down While You Eat

  1. Take at least 20 – 30 minutes to eat an entire meal. Many health professionals, especially registered dietitians, recommend that you take at least 20 to 30 minutes to eat your entire meal. This helps support many of the other mindful eating practices.
    • The basis of this rule is that it takes 20 or 30 minutes for your stomach and digestive track to begin digesting and absorbing the food from your meal or snack. It takes at least 20 minutes for your GI system to signal your brain that it's had enough food.
    • When you eat faster than 20 minutes, you're more likely to overeat because you haven't received a signal from your brain that you've eaten enough.
    • Many times, when you're eating rapidly, the first signal of "fullness" you feel is coming from your stomach. Stretch receptors are activated when your stomach is full of food and you've eaten too much.
    • If you're out with a group, it may be easier to take your time. If you have a notoriously slow eater in your group, try to mimic their eating speed. Or, engage in conversation to slow you down.
  2. Take smaller bites and chew thoroughly. To help slow your eating pace down and for you to use up that 20 or 30 minutes, aim to take smaller bites and chew each bite more thoroughly.
    • Studies have shown that people who take smaller bites may eat up to 30% less compared to those who took normal or larger bites of foods. In addition, even if those people who were taking smaller bites were distracted, they still consumed less food.
    • In addition to taking small bites, studies have also shown that if you chew that bite of food 15 – 30 times you may end up eating less and losing more weight. Chewing your food more will naturally slow you down and help signal satiation cues in your brain.
    • Focus on cutting your food into much smaller pieces and only spearing a small amount (aim for 1/2 the amount of your normal bite) on your fork or spoon. Then, count 15 or 30 chews per bite.
  3. Drink before you eat. It can be difficult to practice eating slowly and waiting for your brain's cues to tell you that you're satisfied. To aid in that process, drink a glass of water (or two) before you eat.
    • When you're in a group, try drinking as others talk. This will help you listen more carefully, but also slow you down and help you consume more water.
  4. Talk to others. Whether it's lunch with your co-workers or dinner with your family, try to engage in conversation with those who are eating with you. Talking can help you to slow down and be more mindful while you eat.
    • When you're alone and eating, it can be difficult to concentrate on anything other than the food in front of you. Although this is great for mindful eating practice, it may be easier to start when you are dining with friends or family.
    • Between each bite of food, set your fork down and ask someone a question, bring up a topic or answer a question. This can help you prolong your meal significantly.
  5. Make eating more difficult. Forks and spoons can act as little shovels when you're eating. They make eating too easy if you're working on slowing down. If you make eating your meals physically harder to eat, you'll slow down.
    • Make eating your meals more difficult. This can help naturally slow you down so you're forced to take your time and pay attention to what and how you're eating.
    • Eat with your non-dominant hand. If you are right-handed, put your fork or spoon in your left hand when eating (or vice versa if your left-handed). This will be somewhat awkward and you'll find it difficult to eat and your pace will naturally slow down.
    • Another way to slow your eating pace down is to use chopsticks to eat instead of a fork or spoon. Chopsticks are difficult to use and they do not allow you to take a large bite.

Paying Attention and Being Present While You Eat

  1. Take away distractions while you eat. Switch off your mobile, TV, remove your book and newspapers. One of the biggest reasons people do not eat mindfully on a more regular basis is that they are distracted during mealtimes and are paying attention to other things.
    • Studies show that those people who eat when they're distracted tend to eat more and weigh more as well.
    • The reasoning behind this is thought to be that while distracted, you're eating much faster and you're not creating the memory of having eaten. Both of these can cause an increased intake of food.
    • Try to remove all distractions while you're having meals or snacks. Turn off the TV, avoid talking on the cell phone and stay away from your email or the internet. You may even need to let others know, like co-workers, to give you 20 minutes to yourself while you're eating instead of coming in with questions or things to do.
    • If you're eating with a group - like your family - also remove distractions. This can help your whole group focus on each other and conversation rather than watching the TV or texting on their phones.
  2. Think about your meal for a few moments before eating. A mindful eating practice should start prior to your actual meal. Taking a moment or two before you start eating a meal can help put you on track to be more mindful and present while eating.
    • After serving yourself your meal or snack, sit down at a table with your food in front of you. Take a few moments before the meal to decorate the table, bring out your favorite cutlery, light a candle or say a prayer.
    • You can start this little mini meditation by taking a few deep breaths and just looking at your meal and concentrating on the food in front of you.
    • If you feel yourself eating too fast or taking big bites or even getting distracted, feel free to stop eating and return to a few moments of breathing to refocus your mind.
  1. Listening to your body's hunger signals can also be deceiving for we eat far too much. To understand one's body, try staying without any food, consuming only liquids.
    • Try to fast for a day. Fasting is an interesting way of detaching from the body noises.
    • Although there are varying levels of fullness, you want to feel half full.
  1. Serve yourself and eat at the table.
    • When you serve yourself, you're taking control of what you're putting on your plate and how much. Others may give you too much or too little.
    • Also don't put big plates or bowls of food on the table. Leave them in the kitchen so you're not tempted to go back for seconds at the table.
    • Sitting and eating at the table is a great practice for mindful eating. It forces you to focus and get in the mindset of mindful eating.
    • This theory also goes for snack foods. It's never wise to sit down with a box of crackers or a bag of chips. You cannot tell how much you're eating. Serve yourself an appropriate portion size and then put the container away.
  2. Snack mindfully. Reduce these quick bites or snacks between the meals.
    • Some people can get into trouble when they snack mindlessly. If you find yourself zoning out in front of the TV with a bag of chips, this can lead to overeating and consuming too many calories.
    • To avoid eating mindlessly through snacks, always separate your food from other activities. Don't ever sit down with an entire box, bag or container.
    • Don't just grab any snack at the slight feeling of hunger. If you're feeling hungry and your next meal is in 30 minutes, you should wait to eat.

Starting to Practice Mindful Eating

  1. Set a time and space for mindful eating.
  2. Start a food journal. Another tool that can help you practice mindful eating is a food journal. This can teach you a lot about your eating habits and give you hints about where you should focus your mindful eating practice.
    • To start a food journal, either purchase a paper journal or download a journaling app. A paper journal may be better, because you may want to take notes on other things outside of your actual food intake.
    • Start journaling the types of foods you eat on a daily basis. It is important that you note items correctly, taking care of your drinks too.
    • After starting your mindful eating practice, note how that has changed your eating habits.
  3. Whenever you're trying to change your diet or the way you eat, its a good idea to set goals for yourself. Goals can help guide you and motivate you to actually make your desired changes.
    • Mindful eating can be a lot of fun but if you find it difficult start by setting some small goals..
    • For example, you might start with eating dinner at the table every night or turning off all distractions during your lunch break.
    • Also consider setting some longer term goals like replacing sugary snacks with healthy ones. These may be bigger or take more practice to get used to. For example, you might set a long-term goal of replacing fast food with healthy fresh ingredients.
    • Getting support from your friend is a great idea. Exercising and practicing together may prove to be more fun.
    • Consider asking your family to help you with mindful eating. Get everyone on board with removing distractions during meals, eating at the table and eating slowly.
    • You may also want to ask friends or co-workers for support as well. Ask co-workers to give you a set time for your lunch where you're not interrupted and can focus on your meal.


  • Mindful eating will take practice and patience. If you slip up or make mistakes, that's OK. Restart your mindful eating practice at your next meal.
  • There are many aspects to mindful eating. Choose one or two to work on each week.
  • A key tip to remember with mindful eating is that there are foods that can totally disturb you, the ones that are full of additives, colorings, unhealthy foods, fast food, etc. Remember this as you are looking at meal options.
  • Planning your meals will make you feel more in control of your hunger and health.

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