Unless you have been hiding under a rock of late, you’ll likely notice mindful eating is a bit of a buzz word.
Unfortunately, it’s getting hi-jacked by the diet industry and is being promoted as a way to lose weight.
If you’re new to mindful eating, you can read all about it by clicking here. In a nutshell, mindful eating means eating with awareness.
Eating slowly, being focused on the experience of eating and becoming more in-tune with our hunger, fullness & satisfaction signals are all mindful eating strategies. A ph App is just a helpful way to bring more attention to these aspects of mindful eating.
When I first wrote about mindful eating Apps in 2012, there were hardly any on the market. Now, with more available you’ll see quite a difference in the ethos behind each App. The best Apps are those focused on bringing awareness to the eating experience by looking at the speed we eat and our emotions or decision making around food. Here are three tips to help you choose:
Ok, so here they are (in no particular order):
I hope you find the list useful. If you know of any other Apps, please let me know. (Just email me here).
If you’re inquisitive about mindful eating, you might like to try our FREE 5-day mindful eating challenge.
Well, I feel like it’s time for a blog rant. My last little tirade was on the Paleo diet in 2014 (you can read it here on our sister website). So I’m well due for another rant, right?
Mindful eating is actually HOT right at the moment. On the one hand, I’m happy. I believe in it 100%. But…. You know. I’m also annoyed by it right now. There are still many insta-tribes and facey-folks using mindful eating to promote weight loss and fad dieting. So if you’re a health professional, clean eating warrior or Instagram celebrity bandy-ing the term around, you’d better have your Zen boxing gloves on.
“Just because you took a pretty picture of your dinner at a too-cool-for-school restaurant or a “before and after” weight loss pic and hashtagged it #mindfuleating, it doesn’t mean it’s #mindfuleating. In fact, you could be misleading the lovely folks who are trying to get happy about their relationship with food; potentially making them super confused”
OK. For the last time, mindful eating is not a diet. It’s a way of eating based on a core philosophy of mindfulness. In fact, mindfulness and mindful eating go hand-in-hand.
Practising mindfulness means living moment to moment, paying close attention to your thoughts and everything around you – without judgment. (hot tip – focusing on a weight loss goal for some time in the future is not living here and now).
When it comes to mindful eating, it’s not just a matter of saying “I watch what I eat” “I’m mindful of what I eat”. Cos, let’s face it. Anyone can say that.
It’s more about being in the moment when you eat. It involves really, truly listening to your body and learning to TRUST YOUR BODY’s cues for when, how much and what to eat in a variety of situations. It’s about watching and learning from eating (without judgment). This happens by paying close attention to internal body cues like hunger, fullness and emotional triggers and also using your outer wisdom about nutrition.
“The long-term aim of mindful eating is to feel at ease (aka happy) with every eating experience”
Please think before using the term mindful eating. It’s awesome if it’s coming from a place of mindfulness. If it’s not, please note you are potentially harming vulnerable groups in our communities by doing so. Please stop.
Rant over – haha
I discovered mindful eating by chance. It’s funny. It’s actually the most effective tool in my “nutritionist tool belt”. Yet, I didn’t study it in either of my university degrees. It’s also probably the most simplest nutrition strategy ever.
Welcome to the SOL food blog. In case you don’t know my story, I “discovered” mindful eating 10 years after I started working in nutrition. I originally trained as a Dietitian and Nutritionist in Australia. I worked in a ton of different areas in nutrition. From hospitals to research to public health projects both in Australia and the UK. Over the years I saw A LOT of people who wanted help with losing weight. I “helped” hundreds of people (many women) lose weight and “get healthy”.
As I went along my way in the nutrition field, one thing kept bothering me. I actually hated. No. Dreaded weighing people. From a personal viewpoint, I felt losing weight was not important. I felt like it didn’t really matter and that if we focused on health, we would be the “right weight for us”.
So slightly weird. I was a Dietitian that hated weighing people! After a number of years of working I actually stopped weighing clients. I gravitated more and more towards the psychology of eating and what is now called the Non-Diet Approach. It turns out it was much a much kinder, gentler approach to helping people change the way they eat. Surprise. Surprise. No scales or diets were required!
It was through my search for novel, non-diet strategies for my clients, I came across this fun little thing called mindful eating. Mindful eating had become a super-useful strategy for anyone struggling with over-eating, binge eating or an unhappy relationship with food. My 3 biggest influences were Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh for all things mindfulness, and Evelyn Tribole and Jan Chozen Bays for their intuitive and mindful eating expertise. From there I embarked on formal training in meditation & mindful eating and in fact, I’m now a proud Volunteer Ambassador* for The Mindfulness App!
Mindful eating is an informal way of practising mindfulness. It’s as simple as other everyday activities like brushing our teeth, drinking tea or going for a walk. It allows us to really hone in on the eating process.
Mindful eating works best alongside cultivating a formal mindfulness practice like meditation and yoga. The formal mindfulness practice allows us to manage all those crazy little life happenings that keep us feeling a little anxious or a bit reactive. Therefore we can come to meal times with a calm mindset.
Being calm when we eat is the first step of mindful eating. If we are calm, we are more likely to notice our hunger, fullness and how we satisfied with feel from eating. It also helps us to notice our emotional and environmental triggers to eating and we can start to change things (if we need or want to).
A bit hesitant? Start here with a short meditation. Becoming less reactive to our everyday stress is an awesome way to start…
“Remember, it’s not often about the food”