Mindful Eating: Why and How

What comes to mind when you hear the term, “mindful eating”? 

For much of my adult life, eating was either about controlling the appearance of my body or numbing negative emotion. The transformation I went through however, completely changed the way I experience food! (If you’d like to learn more about my personal journey, click HERE.)

Eating mindfully makes a HUGE positive impact on my own life, as well as the lives of our Plant-Empowered Coaching Program clients. We’re even doing a mindful eating CHALLENGE in our free Empowered Vegan Life Facebook group (if you haven’t joined our incredible group, join us HERE now)!

Here’s what Jamie Rottura, one of our inspirational Program graduates has to offer to help you jump start the habit of eating mindfully…

The term “mindful eating” can seem quite vague to many people.  It is tough to imagine what it looks like to eat with intention.  The term denotes eating while in a meditative state… but what does that mean?

Before I began the Plant-Empowered Coaching Program (PECP), I would eat at designated times of day (i.e. breakfast, lunch and dinner, respectively), usually in-between tasks or while working.  I shoveled my food into my mouth because I had waited to eat until I was so hungry that I NEEDED food or I would pass out. Then, I would eat until I was too full to move and be angry at myself and unable to do much for a good hour or so after. 

I didn’t realize it at the time, but this ONE thing made me feel so badly about myself.  I would feel sluggish and look at myself in the mirror thinking about how gross and gluttonous I was. I would go into a spiral of negative emotions about my body, therein feeling depressed and overwhelmed.  One meal could cause me to hate myself, back then. 

The mindfulness tools we learn within PECP have taught me how to break that awful cycle.  I now enjoy eating on a whole new level while also appreciating my body throughout the entire process. Eating is no longer another “task”… It is an experience that I look forward to without guilt or anger.  I taste flavors, feel textures and pay attention to the smell of food in a way that helps me savor every meal. 

Next time you sit down for a meal, try some of these tips that we practice in PECP:

  • Choose foods that fuel you instead of foods that are just there when you’re hungry.   
  • Chew food to a pulp before swallowing.
  • Ask yourself if you are enjoying the flavor and texture of the food.
  • Smell the food before each bite.
  • When you sit down to eat, make that the “thing” you are doing at the time.  Turn off the TV and other mindless distractions and enjoy the meal.  
  • Listen to your body’s reactions to foods. Ask yourself, “How do I feel when I eat this particular food? Does it make me feel energized or depleted? Am I satisfied or still hungry?”
  • Before you choose a particular food or meal, ask yourself, “Do I really want this right now?” If the answer is yes, then take a little at a time. If the answer is no, feel open to leaving that option off of your plate.
  • Remind yourself that you DO NOT have to finish the entire plate of food (that’s why storage containers were invented)!

Eating is an experience, not a means to an end. Enjoy every bite!