What Is Mindful Eating and How Do You Do It?


You’ve probably heard of mindful eating, which has grown in popularity over the past few years. Mindful eating has been around for years. Researcher Jon Kabat-Zinn popularized mindfulness around the world in the 1970s, so the principles of mindfulness have been around for many decades. However, mindful eating has grown in popularity.

Mindful eating has become a way that allows people to improve their relationship with food, understand what they should be eating, and with the added benefit of losing weight as a side effect. Mindful eating is not a diet, but a way of eating that allows you to be present during meals. It’s a helpful way to find out what’s good for you, what fills you up, and when to stop eating.

A 2013 study showed that 38% of Americans overeat, and that number is likely to be even higher in 2022. We overeat because of stress, comfort, sadness, and loneliness. Often we do not know how much food we should eat to nourish our body.


For example, before I practiced mindful eating, I had no idea how little food I actually needed each day. I was quite surprised at how little it took me to stay lean and feel full at the same time.

Examples of mindful eating

Below are examples of what mindful eating is and isn’t.


Mindful Eating

  • Selection of foods full of nutrients in the store
  • Cook your own meals from scratch
  • Be aware of where your food was grown
  • Understand the nutritional value of your food
  • Watch your food
  • Eat slowly and chew properly
  • Feel how your food feels as it goes down
  • Noticing when you are full and need to stop
  • Notice how you feel after you stop eating

Mindless Eating

  • Eat anything and everything
  • eat ready meals
  • Ignore the nutritional value of your food
  • Get food on the way
  • Choose junk food too often
  • Rush your meals
  • Eating too often out of boredom
  • Ignore your full stomach

Mindful Eating VS Intuitive Eating

Mindful eating and intuitive eating are often compared as similar ways of eating. However, the two are quite different at their cores. Intuitive eating is a way of eating that allows you to eat whatever you want without feeling guilty. It’s the practice of rejecting diet culture and instead eating what you like when you’re hungry, with the idea that if you’re hungry it must mean you have to eat something.

Mindful eating is different in that you become more aware of what you put in your mouth, when, and why. Mindful eating helps you not to overeat, while intuitive eating is much looser and more relaxed. However, mindful eating isn’t strict, it’s simply a way to slow down and notice how eating makes you feel.

Mindful eating is not a diet

Diets are often inherently time-sensitive, making them short-term ways to lose weight. This leads to a high failure rate among those who choose to start dieting. 97% of those who start a diet regain all of their original weight, and then some within three years of stopping their diet.

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Mindful eating isn’t a diet, it’s a conscious lifestyle. You don’t need to buy any diet books or diet plans, you just need to stick to a few basic principles and it starts before you even sit down at your table to fuel yourself.

What are mindful foods?

The truth is, There are no conscious foods. There are no specific food groups that constitute mindful foods. Mindful eating is about paying attention to how eating makes you feel and removing distractions from the present moment to improve your relationship with food. It’s more of a way of eating than a specific diet.

The benefits of mindful eating

There are many Potential benefits of mindful eating. Here are some of the key benefits.

  • Increased awareness of hunger and satiety
  • Weight loss (ideally fat loss)
  • stress reduction
  • Better digestion
  • Reducing overeating and binge eating
  • Better relationship with food
  • Healthier food choices
  • A better understanding of the role of food groups in health

Research is limited when it comes to the benefits of mindful eating, but based on my own experience of being more mindful about food, I have a better relationship with it and have improved my understanding of what each food I eat contains and contains how this can improve my mood and body composition.

Mindful Eating Habits

There is no rigid way to eat mindfully, but there are some key habits that will help you become more mindful during your mealtimes.

1. Think about your weekly meals

The first step to mindful eating is to increase awareness of your weekly meals. This starts with your shopping list. A great way to do this is to research your meals before you head to the store so you stick to your list and aren’t tempted by cheap snacks while shopping.


2. Focus your awareness on food labels

When I started being more mindful about my meals, I did so primarily because I wanted my food to make me feel good, not tired and sluggish like my poor existing diet had done. This meant I needed to better understand the ingredients in my foods and their calorie density.

3. Remove distractions

To be truly mindful during your meals, you need to free yourself from distractions like your cell phone or your TV. To be present you need to create an environment that allows you to focus on your food.

4. Take a break before eating

Instead of eating quickly when you put your plate down, take a moment to pause and enjoy the food in front of you. When you eat mindlessly, you are more likely to overeat and feel overfed.

5. Use your senses

The whole idea of ​​mindfulness is becoming more present moment by moment. The best way to do this is to ground yourself with your senses. Breathe in the smell of your freshly prepared meal, examine it with all its colors and shapes and listen to the sounds around you as you sit and feel the hard feel of your utensils before getting to work.

6. Practice gratitude

Be thankful you have a meal that nourishes your body. Think about where your food comes from and where it was grown. Be aware of who may have planted it in the ground and how it got from the earth to your plate.

7. Chew your food properly

It’s easy to throw the food down your throat, especially when you’re very hungry. However, it is important that you chew your food properly when eating mindfully. Not only will it help you eat more slowly, but you’ll be able to notice the flavors on your tongue and appreciate them more.

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8. Watch your stomach

Chewing your food slowly makes it much easier to tell when you’re full. This is important because you should always stop eating when you are full. It’s easy to overeat when something tastes delicious, but stopping when you’re full will help you avoid bloating and discomfort, not to mention weight gain. I used to stuff my face and feel terrible afterwards, but after introducing mindful eating, I often find myself leaving half or a quarter of a large meal.

Yum Mindful Eating Checklist: Mindful Eating Worksheets Learn more

Make mindful eating a habit

To make mindful eating a habit, you have to start small. Instead of applying mindful eating to every meal, start by applying it to one meal a day, such as your dinner. If you are busy in the mornings and have short lunch breaks, it may initially be easier to do it in the evening when there is less pressure.

Try practicing the above habits just a few minutes before you eat. This is an easily achievable goal that can set you on the right path. Once you incorporate mindful eating into at least one meal a day, it becomes easier to incorporate it into all of your meals.

1. Create a good environment

Make mindful eating easier by creating a good environment. It’s much easier to stick to habit when you shape your environment around it. For example, if your cupboards are full of cookies and chips, you’re more likely to grab an on-the-go snack and graze thoughtlessly.

To facilitate mindful eating, you need to remove all distractions from your surroundings. That means limiting snacks you might be tempted to eat instead of mindfully preparing meals.

2. Sit at your table and eat

Another way to eliminate distractions is to sit down at your table to eat, away from your TV. Eating in front of the TV is easy enough, but in the end you prioritize the TV and not your food. The key to mindful eating is to be as present with food as possible and treat eating as an important event worth noting.

3. Eat your meals at the same time every day

It’s not always easy to eat at the same time every day when you’re doing evening activities, but it’s important and useful when you can. Eating at the same time every day creates a sense of discipline in eating, rather than mindlessly eating whenever you want.

4. Prepare your ingredients in advance

One of the most important things you can do is prepare your ingredients ahead of time so you know what you’re eating each day. That makes mindful eating easier, but it also keeps you from grazing mindlessly from your pantry.

5. Get some of it

There’s no point in picking up a new habit if you don’t get anything out of it. One of the most important ways to keep a habit is to make sure it’s worth it. The same goes for mindful eating. It ties into why you’re making the effort to mindful eating in the first place. If you’re doing it to improve your relationship with food and it works for that outcome, that’s your reward. If you don’t find the experience rewarding in any way, it’s unlikely you’ll keep it.

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Download Mindful Eating Worksheets to facilitate mindful eating.

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