Do you feel as if you grab food without thinking? Have you heard of the phrase “mindful eating” but you are not sure what it means or how you can incorporate it into your own routine? Here at Noom, we love mindful eating and its emotional, physical, and mental benefits. What is mindful eating you ask? Mindful eating is being aware of how you eat and paying attention so that you consume just enough to be satisfied. We will guide you through the process step by step, or rather, bite by bite. Grab a food you thoroughly enjoy that you can hold in your hand-ideally one that you know is good for your health, and let’s begin!
Start off by sitting in a comfortable and alert position with your eyes open. Take a moment to first monitor your hunger. On a scale of 1-7, with 7 being uncomfortably full and 1 being horribly hangry, how hungry are you in this moment? Are you choosing to eat because of physical hunger or emotional hunger? Take a look at this graphic to evaluate where your hunger lies:
After noting your hunger, take a deep breath, the deepest one you have all day, removing the air from your lungs. Take three more intentional deep breaths as you let go of the tension in your body. Now, place the food in front of you and focus on it as we begin the process of eating mindfully. We will now guide you through a mindful eating journey with each of your five senses.
- SEE: Take a close look at the food you chose. Become aware of its color and notice the space it takes up. How does your meal look? Observe the shape of the food. Where did it come from and what journey did it take to get to you?
- FEEL: Now, pick up the food lightly. Touch the surface. What words describe your food? Is it prickly or smooth, sticky, round or oval, soft or hard?
- SMELL: Hold the food up to your nose and notice the odor. How does what it smells like make you feel about putting it in your mouth?
- TASTE: Take a taste of the food. Chew it slowly and mindfully as you observe the texture, flavor, and all the other sensations that are occurring. Is it sour, bitter, sweet, or salty? Pay attention to your mouth salivating. After fully experiencing the food, swallow it and detect the movement of the food going down your esophagus as it goes down toward your stomach.
- HEAR: As the food travels down your body, pay attention to any noises that may occur. Pause for a moment and then take another slow, small taste. Listen to the sound of your teeth biting into the food.
How satisfying is each bite? Do you enjoy the taste? Pause and take a breath between bites to investigate your hunger and fullness. Pay attention to how your stomach feels and if you desire an additional piece. Listen to what your body is telling you.
How did that mindful eating meditation feel for you? It might have felt a bit uncomfortable or awkward, and it will take time to develop a realistic practice that works for you. The more you practice mindful eating, the easier it becomes. Next time you eat, take a moment to reflect on why you are choosing this particular food before you take your next bite.
Looking for some extra guidance? Download Noom’s Mindful Eating worksheet to help you look at the link between your hunger / fullness, and your food choices.
Mindfulness guru, Jon Kabat Zinn says, “When we taste with attention, even the simplest foods provide a universe of sensory experience, awakening us to them”.
Albers, Susan, Psy.D. Eating mindfully: how to end mindless eating and enjoy a balanced relationship with food/Susan Albers; foreword by Lilian Cheung. 2nd ed.
Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. New York: Hyperion, 1994. Print.