When we think about mindful eating, we may first think of a practice where we eat something with focused attention, noticing each part of the process, smelling, feeling, tasting, and observing with care and kindness. An excercise like this is one important way to practice.
During the reflection after mindful eating exercise in my classes, students always report on the high contrast between the mindful eating exercise and how they normally eat. It’s not realistic for most of us to eat every meal with slow, focused attention but if we can slow down just 5 or 10 percent, that’s still progress. The mindful eating exercise shows us another way to eat that we can turn to or draw upon as needed.
Mindful eating also means being mindful of our relationship to food, and this is perhaps even more important than the exercise. Mindfulness asks us to withhold judgement and regard ourselves with kindness and curiosity. What if we were able to do those things when it came to food and eating? What if we could stop the self-criticism, guilt, shame, and love ourselves exactly as we are in this moment no matter what we ate?
That’s what I discuss in this video. The dieting culture is build on the judgement that something is wrong and needs to be changed. Mindfulness of food and eating begins with love, acceptance, and curiosity, not judgment. It’s a radically different, and I would say more effective, way to address your relationship with food.