by Danielle Labonte, MAN, RD,
Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit
Mindful eating involves not only being aware of eating habits, but also listening to and respecting the hunger and fullness cues that our bodies send us throughout the day. This means eating when we are hungry and stopping when we are comfortable. When we do this, we are better able to tune into how different foods make us feel, and can use that information to make decisions about what and how we eat in the future. This also helps keep us from getting over-hungry, which can make it difficult to eat mindfully and may result in overeating and feeling uncomfortable.
Some people may have a hard time recognizing their hunger and fullness cues for various reasons; for example, some medications and medical conditions can interfere with our cues, as well as our mood, emotions, and dieting. To begin to get back in tune with our hunger cues, we can think about how we feel physically and emotionally when we are very hungry, a bit hungry, comfortably full and very full. We can also eat more mindfully by chewing our food completely before swallowing and taking the time to sit down and really savour the aroma and taste of each bite which helps us to truly enjoy what we are eating. A pleasurable eating environment is also an important part of mindful eating. For example, play relaxing music or decorate your eating area in a way that appeals to you.
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