By: Jenna Appel, MS, RD, LDN, CPT
It's a common scene that almost everyone can identify with: You flip on the TV, open a bag of chips and settle in for a show. Half an hour later, you reach deep into the bag and … hey, where'd all the chips go? Somehow, they disappeared, and you barely remember eating them. This is a classic example of mindless eating!
We sat down with our Registered Dietitian and Wellness Coach, Jenna Appel to walk us through what mindful eating is, why we should try it and how to get started with the practice.
Addison Reserve: What exactly is mindful eating?
Jenna Appel: Mindful eating is the practice of taking time to focus your mind fully on eating – to savor more slowly; to appreciate the colors, textures, flavors and aromas of your food; to check in with your body and assess your hunger and fullness cues; and to recognize when you've had enough.
AR: What is the importance of mindful eating and how did this practice come about?
JA: Eating has become a mindless act, often done quickly. This can be problematic, since it takes your brain up to 20 minutes to realize you’re full. If you eat too fast, the fullness signal may not arrive until you have already eaten too much. By eating mindfully, you restore your attention and slow down, making eating an intentional act instead of an automatic one. By increasing your recognition of physical hunger and fullness cues, you are able to distinguish between emotional and true, physical hunger.
AR: Who would benefit from engaging in the practice of mindful eating?
JA: Mindful eating is a great practice for people who want to become more aware of problem eating patterns, such as binge eating and overeating. Unlike diets, which seem to take much of the pleasure out of eating, mindful practices focus on enjoying your food while being attentive in the present moment.
AR: How do you advise to begin the practice of mindful eating?
JA: There are many simple ways to get started with the practice of mindful eating, some of which can have powerful benefits on their own. Here are my top 5 Steps to beginning a mindful eating practice:
- Eat more slowly and don’t rush your meals.
- Eliminate distractions by turning off the TV and putting down your phone.
- Focus on how the food makes you feel.
- Stop eating when you’re full.
- Ask yourself why you’re eating, whether you’re truly hungry, and whether the food you chose is healthy.
To begin with, it’s a good idea to pick one meal per day to focus on these points. Once you have the hang of it, mindfulness will become more natural!
Interested in learning more about the practice of mindful eating?
Set a virtual date with Jenna! Our Registered Dietitian and Wellness
Coach, Jenna Appel is available for virtual nutrition coaching!
Click Here to Book Your Virtual Session!