mindful eating

*Mindful eating helps our bodies achieve an ideal weight- this practice is to ease the stress on your mind AND the stress on your body that is caused by giving it something different than it needs.

Mindful Eating: The Art of Presence While You Eat.

Nelson JB.

Intentionality is the mindset with which one begins this practice. In other words, what do you value? What is the purpose of your practice? How will full awareness of the moment serve you and your life? If weight loss will assist you in living more fully, that is fine; just do not get so preoccupied with that goal that you lose sight of your intention to be more present and involved in your life.

Eating mindfully is about bringing full awareness to each plate or bite of food. It begins with the first thought about food and lasts until the final bite is swallowed and the consequence of the episode is experienced. Some of the following suggestions will be useful in teaching methods to eat mindfully:

  • Before reaching for something automatically, stop and take a moment to notice what you are feeling and what you might want to fill you up. Are you stressed, bored, angry, or sad? Are you lonely? Or, are you actually physically hungry? Be mindful of your reactivity and make a choice instead.

  • If your desire is not about hunger, do something else more appropriate for the desire.

  • Eat intentionally and only eat. Put away other distractions and pay attention to your food.

  • In addition to how you experience a food, consider what it took to bring this food to you. Who was involved in the growing process and production? Consider the sun and soil it took to grow the ingredients and ask yourself where in the world it came from. Appreciate all of what it took to bring it to your plate.

  • Savor each bite the way you did the raisin in the earlier exercise.

  • After each bite, check in with your body to see how you are feeling. Have you had enough? Do you need more? Is it time to stop? Then move on to whatever you have chosen.


Eating mindfully is a practice that requires a commitment to behavior change similar to that needed for any diet or eating plan; at a diet’s core is the need to pay attention. It is important to restate that the main benefit of mindful eating is not weight loss. However, it is highly likely that people who adopt mindful eating as a regular practice will lose excess weight and keep it off.

Mindful eating supports practitioners’ sense of who they are by assuring them that they are OK in a nonjudgmental and self-accepting way. It encourages them to appreciate food rather than restricting it and starving, by having a beginner’s mind and patiently appreciating each moment with full awareness. It encourages them to trust in their own decisions rather than being restricted by rules about what and when to eat. Mindfulness encourages practitioners to live fully in each moment and appreciate their life as it is.

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