Learning mindful eating can positively influence your eating habits and ultimately your overall health.

We have an abundance of food choices in front of us all the time and nearly everywhere we go. Along with this abundance we have our distractions such as television, smart phones, computers and tablets to feed us constant media. Eating is often a mindless act done very quickly. We grab food and eat without really knowing or understanding what we’re eating.

Mindful eating is based in the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention in the present moment and acting intentionally. Mindfulness creates deliberate acts based on the observation of our feelings, thoughts and emotions.

Mindful eating is, therefore, paying attention in the present moment to what you’re eating. It’s being attentive to your experiences, cravings and physical cues when you are eating.

Mindful eating involves very fundamental behaviors you can learn and practice. With enough effort and practice you can learn to be very mindful about your eating habits and consciously make better choices to impact your body weight and health.

Here are the fundamentals of mindful eating:

  1. Eat slowly
    Eating slowly gives your body time to recognize when its full. It takes about 20 minutes from the start of a meal for the brain to send signals its satisfied. It’s easy to overeat before you feel full.
  2. Learn to feel satisfied
    When you’ve learned to eat slowly, you’ll start to feel what its like to be satisfied instead of eating until you’re full. It’s powerful to feel hungry and satisfy the hunger without becoming full. It’s the body’s way of regulating the volume of food you’re eating.
  3. Connect with healthy food
    When you eat clean, healthy food you know you’re doing something good for your body. Conversely, you know when you eat junk food, you’re not helping your body weight or health. Build a connection to your healthy choices and eat health on purpose.
  4. Praise your healthy choices
    Be aware of when you make your healthy choices and connect by praising yourself. Know you’re doing something healthy for yourself and use positive self-talk to acknowledge it.