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What is Mindful Eating?

By Shane YoungMarch 23, 2015

Mindful eating is an incredibly powerful tool I recommend when I see clients at Ascend struggling with their relationship with food and proper nutrition. In our food-obsessed culture, eating has emerged as a mindless, guilt-laden process which often leaves us feeling unsatisfied rather than fulfilled.

I am a firm believer that cultivating awareness and intentionally altering our mindsets around food and nutrition will lead to optimal health, wellness, and satiate both our physical and emotional desires.

We all deserve to spend just a little more time thinking about not only what we’re eating but also why we’re eating.

What is mindful eating?

In essence, mindful eating is eating with intention and attention. We eat with the intention of nurturing ourselves and with the attention of noticing food– how it invigorates each of our senses and how it affects the body.

Although eating slowly, silently, and without distraction are integral components of attentive eating, true mindful eating encompasses much more. It’s a truly transformative practice that enhances:

  • Awareness of physical and emotional cues
  • Recognition of “non-hunger” which is often rooted in emotional triggers
  • The ability to meet alternative needs and desires in more targeted, productive ways
  • Enjoyment and respect for the practice of eating
  • Eating for optimal satisfaction and satiety. This helps us recognize that food is fuel to live a vibrant life.

How does mindful eating create a healthy relationship with food?

Those of us who struggle with food often react mindlessly to unexamined emotional triggers and thoughts because we are reactive rather than proactive. This basically means that we react and repeat past actions while feeling powerless and unable to change and move forward.

Mindfulness and mindful eating increase our awareness to these patterns and allow us to interrupt habitual action without judgment. We are able to create space between emotional triggers and actions by pausing, observing our thoughts, and choosing how we respond to the triggers we feel with intention and mindful specificity.

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