Nutrition and Eating

Make Mindful Eating a Habit

By Laurie Little, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist
TriHealth Weight Management Center

Laurie LittleWhat is mindfulness? Mindfulness is a big buzz word these days—but what does it really mean, and why is it so important? Mindfulness is just another term for paying attention or being aware. In our fast-paced, multitasking society, we are often very un-mindful. There are so many things that can distract us and keep us from really paying attention to what is most important. As a clinical psychologist in the TriHealth Weight Management Program, one of my key roles is to teach patients the importance of mindful eating.

Mindful eating is really noticing and paying attention to all aspects of your food and your body as you eat. For many of us, this can be especially challenging. Typically, when we eat we are paying attention to other things instead of our food or our body. Maybe we are eating while we work on our computer. Maybe we are watching television or cruising the internet. Or maybe we are just chatting it up with friends and co-workers. How many times have you eaten a snack or a meal, gotten to the end and thought, “I don’t even remember having eaten all of that, but I’m already stuffed.”

Here are some quick tips to keep you connected to your body and your food:

  • Slow down: Chew your food thoroughly and take some time between bites. Focus on the food that is already in your mouth, not on the bite you are about to take. Put your fork down between bites if that helps you stay in tune with the food in your mouth.
  • Notice the taste: Savor the flavor. Enjoy all of the spices and herbs. Notice the temperature and texture of each bite as you chew it. 

  • Notice your body: Pay attention to how your mouth responds to the food before you eat it. Notice how your stomach feels as you are eating. Notice the sense of fullness growing so it is easier to stop before you feel stuffed.

Learning about mindful eating can help you feel more in charge of your food choices and how much you eat. Mindful eaters are less likely to binge eat and engage in emotional or stress eating. Mindful eating can even lead to weight loss because you can feel satisfied on smaller amounts of food. If you would like to learn more about mindful eating, consider joining my six-week class at the TriHealth Fitness & Health Pavilion, Changing Your Relationship With Food. The class begins August 18. For more information or to register, call 513 862 2957.

Tags Nutrition and Eating , Weight Loss