Mindful Eating

Question:

My schedule is so busy, I find myself eating on the run and skipping meals. I also have a terrible habit of eating at my computer in work or at home in front of the tv. How can I change my eating habits?

Answer from Croí Nutrition & Dietetic Team:

It is not uncommon these days to be constantly grazing on food without taking time to enjoy a full meal. With busy lives, more of us are eating on the run or in front of our computers or TVs – and often when we’re not hungry.

Practising mindful eating can help to bring back an appreciation and enjoyment of food. Mindful eating is often described as eating with intention (caring for yourself) and attention (noticing and enjoying your food and its effects on the body). It is a simple-to-learn life skill which can lead people to enjoy a satisfying, healthy and enjoyable relationship with food.

It is important to note that mindful eating is not a diet – it is about the way we eat, not what we eat. Mindful eating can help manage weight, control food cravings and improve eating habits.

Tips for mindful eating:

  • Chew slowly and use your senses to explore and savour the texture, smell, and flavour. Put the fork down between each bite of food.
  • Stay present in the moment without distractions. Switch off the TV, computer and radio.
  • Only eat at a table. Avoid eating on the coach or sofa – as we tend to overeat.
  • Sit down while eating, slow down and enjoy your food.
  • Don’t eat out of a packet. Always use a plate or a bowl – you have more control over the amount you eat.
  • Listen to your body. Are you hungry or thirsty – don’t mistake thirst for hunger.
  • Pay attention to your hunger and notice when your stomach starts to become full.
  • Finish eating before you are full – it takes time for the signal to reach the brain that you’ve had enough.
  • Keep a food diary. Track your eating habits – become more mindful of what you eat.