Nourish Your Body with Mindful Eating | Great Health Guide
Nourish Your Body with Mindful Eating

Nourish Your Body with Mindful Eating

Written by Dr Kirsty Seward behavioural scientist (PhD Behav. Sci.), dietitian (BNutr. Diet) & body image coach 

Today’s world is fast paced and full of technology, which can bring a lot of distractions to our day. Now more than ever, It’s important for our health that we be intentional about cultivating presence and mindfulness in our day – when it comes to nourishing our body, ‘Mindful eating’ is a practice that can help to bring presence to daily eating occasions.

Mindful eating helps to transform the eating experience, to be more intentional rather than ‘auto-pilot’ and enables your curiosity to be engaged during the meal. Such curiosity can bring awareness to your thoughts and beliefs about the foods you eat, your relationship with food and your daily eating behaviours and practices, for example, how quickly you eat, how often you eat and the types of foods you generally crave or choose to eat.

“Mindful eating assists in finding

your body’s happy & stable weight.”

Mindful eating can assist you to reconnect with your body and tune into your body’s natural hunger and fullness cues – which can help you differentiate between ‘physical hunger’ (i.e. true hunger to support our body to function) and ‘emotional hunger’ (eating due to emotions such as stress, boredom, sadness). Being in tune with your hunger and fullness cues helps you discover which foods make you feel more energised and satisfied when you eat them, plus which options keep you feeling fuller for longer, therefore assists with finding a happy and stable weight for you to feel comfortable in your body.

Here are my eight steps to practice mindful eating:

Step 1: Awareness. Take a moment to check in with your body and acknowledge how your body is feeling and the reason why you want to eat? How hungry do you feel? Think on a scale of 0-10, where 0 to 2 is ‘over hungry and irritable’, 3-7 is ‘polite hunger’ to ‘comfortable fullness’ and 8-10 is ‘over-full’.

Step 2: Presentation. Serve your food so it’s visually appealing. Use dinnerware and cutlery, you can even use a placemat – all of these things help to make the eating experience more pleasurable.

Step 3: Remove distractions. Sit somewhere quiet and turn off laptop, mobile phone, TV etc.

Step 4: Engage your senses. Observe and smell the food, taking note of the sensations you feel. Take a moment to express gratitude for the meal–for each of the ingredients, the love and care taken to prepare the food, how readily accessible the food is for you.

Step 5: Begin eating. Take small mouthfuls, chew slowly, savour the flavours, place cutlery down between bites, sip water after every few bites.

Step 6: Check-in on how you’re feeling throughout the meal. Use the hunger and fullness scale provided in step one to guide you.

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Step 7: Reflect and check in. Once the meal is finished or you’ve reached fullness, reflect and check in with how satisfied you feel from your food choices, do you feel energised and vibrant or unsatisfied and craving something sweet? Would you make the same food choices next time? Realise that it can take up to 20 minutes for your brain to signal that you’re full, so give yourself time before going for additional portions.

Step 8: Practice, practice, practice. Mindful eating takes practice and there is no PERFECT way to implement it. Overtime it will become more intuitive for you.

As a final note, remember always be kind to yourself as you start a new practice, you can begin to implement the 8 steps above for just one meal each day.

Author of this article:

Dr Kirsty Seward is a Behavioural scientist, Dietitian and Body Image Coach, with degrees in BNutr.Diet (2012) & PhD Behav.Sci. (2019). Founder of ‘Dr Kirsty Seward’, located in Newcastle, NSW. Almost 10 years’ experience in the nutrition and fitness industry. Kirsty offers online 1:1 and group coaching services. Kirsty may be contacted here.

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