Mindful Eating Benefits Health
Mindful eating – being aware of all facets of the eating process – promotes healthy eating and improves mental health. It improves eating behaviours (thus reducing overeating and binge eating) and keeps you full with less food (thus encourages weight control), promotes better digestion, and helps you make healthier food choices.
Many dietary guidelines now include mindful eating to promote overall health. In Canada’s food guide, being mindful of your eating habits while taking time to eat, noticing when you are hungry and when you are full, and enjoying the taste of your food, are recommendations included to develop healthy eating habits. In Germany, mindful eating is also included in national dietary guidelines.
“Many of the habits that drive overeating are unconscious behaviours that people have repeated for years, and they act them out without even realising it,” says Michelle May MD, author of ‘Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat’. “The process of mindfulness allows a person to wake up and be aware of what they’re doing. Once you’re aware, you can change your actions.”
To eat mindfully is to be aware of the nourishment available through the process of food preparation and consumption, choosing enjoyable and nutritious foods, recognising and honouring physical hunger and satiety cues, and using wisdom to guide eating decisions.
A good start to eating mindfully is to ask yourself, “Am I hungry?”