Some people don’t like to stick to a diet and prefer to go along with intuitive or mindful eating. The two are different, but similar and go hand in hand. Mindful eating is certainly something that can be implemented to enhance your meal experience and help you to focus on the food in front of you rather than what’s in front of your food (which in most cases is either the road or a digital screen of some sort).

What Is Mindfulness?

Being mindful can encompass many definitions, but ultimately it is about being present and aware of your surroundings. In relation to eating, it is how we engage with food by utilising our senses. How do we feel physically? How do we feel emotionally?

What Is Mindful Eating?

It’s not just about eating more slowly or chewing your food twenty or thirty times, it’s about:

  • Being aware of your physical state of hunger and the satiety cues presented by your body.
  • Acknowledging which foods you like or dislike and your responses to those foods.
  • Consuming food which you enjoy eating and is nourishing to your body.

A mindful eater:

  • Knows that there is no right or wrong way to eat i.e. does not conform to a diet
  • Understands that everyone has different eating experiences.
  • Focuses their attention on what they eat.
  • Is aware of the interconnection of their food choices on various systems such as their health, workers and the environment.
  • Enjoys the food they’re eating.
  • Isn’t watching a digital screen whilst eating (socialising at the same time is different).

Intuitive And Mindful Eating

Intuitive and mindful eating are often used together but are slightly different despite having some similarities.

Differences

Intuitive eating gives a framework for rejecting the typical diet mentality, giving you free rein over what you eat. Instead of restricting yourself to certain foods, you ask yourself what your body needs. You eat for not only pleasure but self-care too allowing you to enjoy your food whilst not being completely mindful whilst doing so.

Mindful eating, on the other hand, is about awareness of how our food choices affect us. It encourages us to be curious about different foods and helps you to start noticing new things such as the flavours in food or the texture of that crispy chicken wing against your tongue. All this whilst helping you to build a better relationship with your body. Some will use the satiety cues to help control their eating.

Similarities

  • Focus on a non-judgemental approach for building a healthy, stable relationship with food.
  • Allow you to reconnect with your body focusing on external and internal cues.
  • Help to form a basis for which you can use a ‘non-diet’ approach to heal your relationship with food and eat more freely.

Mindful Eating Obstacles

Modern culture has got many people obsessed with diets, fads and trends. Whilst I don’t agree with a strict diet, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to form a lifestyle around a diet, or what I’d consider being a ‘way of eating’.

To eat mindfully you’ll need to try and free yourself from pre-sized portions, macro and calorie tracking and set eating times. You’ll want to stop fretting about minuscule food decisions such as a small chocolate bar you had at the end of a meal and embrace the way your body feels in the present moment.

Mindful eating is not a diet and should be embraced as more of a lifestyle habit. If you succeed, you’ll be able to eat more freely, feel happier and you’ll find yourself dropping down to an ideal weight.


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