Mindful Eating - A Meditation Practice

Mindful Eating - A Meditation Practice

Posted by Jay Suthers on Sep 19th, 2016

Mindful EatingMindfulness has become the zeitgeist of the 2000s and for good reason. As the volume of information (and opinions) available to us grows, it is easy to become mindless about everything going on around us. We are in the information age and it has become a big distraction in our lives.

For those of us familiar with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, our basic needs are physiological. We can't focus much energy on anything else until we have food, shelter, and basic survival needs met. Once we feel secure in the fact that we have what we need, we can then focus on safety needs. These needs include personal and financial security as well as health and well-being.

Beyond the basic needs, we begin to take care of mostly psycho-social needs - love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. It's easy to see how we can become mindless about basic needs once we are able to start focusing on higher levels. At some point we eat simply because we are hungry and so that we can get back to feeding our psycho-social needs. We give less thought to what we are eating, how much we are eating, and the impact our food choices have on the world than we do about our next Facebook post.

The Center for Mindful Eating (TCME) offers brochures and guidelines to help us create a greater awareness about the food we eat. This is accomplished by "...allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation by respecting your own inner wisdom."

TCME is a helpful resource with several great tips for mindful eating. Some of the basic tenets include:

  • Being aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations in the present moment.
  • Freeing yourself from reactive, habitual patterns of thinking, feeling and acting.
  • Using all your senses to make satisfying and nourishing food choices.
  • Acknowledging responses to food (likes, dislikes) without judgement.
  • Becoming aware of physical cues to guide your decisions to begin and end eating.

  • You don't need to become rigid about food or start a regimented diet. This may be helpful at first, but it generally always becomes tedious following a strict set of rules that can set you up for failure. Plus, becoming rigid about food may frustrate your friends when it comes to social outings. In any case, becoming compulsive or controlling about eating is not mindfulness.

    In fact, mindful eating doesn’t require any special diet or book. You don’t have to create a meal plan or download complicated recipes. It’s not a weight loss plan, cleansing, or even a significant change from how you already eat. It’s about developing a stronger awareness of what you are eating, how much you consume, and the source of the food you eat. You will naturally find yourself moving toward healthier food choices and you may decide to transform your lifestyle. But, it will not and should not be hard work or involve sacrifice.

    Visit the TCME web site to learn more.

    I hope this information has been helpful and will start you on your journey toward mindful eating.

    Thank you for reading,


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