Welcome! Today, we will learn what mindfulness is, how it’s connected to mindful eating, and why it is such an important skill to learn for your health. We’ll also determine whether you’re mindful or mindless eater.
How many food decisions do you make each day? How do you know when you are through eating dinner?
Think about these questions and find out the answers as we progress during the course.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present, aware of our surroundings and what one is doing. When you are mindful, you bring your full attention and awareness to the present moment.
Mindful eating, therefore, is bringing all your focus, thoughts, and consciousness to the food or meal in front of you. This means paying attention to your body signals, your thoughts and feelings, and even what’s going on around you.
While we cover mindful eating in this course, it’s worth noting that research into mindfulness meditation has shown that it has many benefits, including improvement of health, better sleep, and reduce of anxiety and stress levels.
Why Is It So Important?
Many people are aware of what to eat—for example, they know to eat more vegetables and less fast food. But mindful eating relates to how you eat. It’s a perfect skill to help you reach your health goals, as it encourages you to enjoy any food mindfully. This means you do not have to deny yourself anything: A mindful eater can enjoy eating a piece of chocolate with no feelings of guilt. Compare this to the typical dieter or person trying to lose weight; they restrict themselves from eating their favorite food and may then find themselves feeling like they’re missing out.
Being mindless can mean one ends up eating more without noticing. Mindless eaters consume more food than they need because they do not pay attention what they are consuming. This may lead to weight gain and other health problems, including a poor relationship with food.
Are You Mindful or Mindless?
Now we will try to understand whether you’re mindful or mindless eater, or perhaps the situations in which you are a mindless eater.
Read the questions below, and answer yes to those that describe you.
• I eat when I am driving.
• I watch TV, play on my phone, or read while I eat.
• I eat at my desk while I check emails or continue to work.
• Sometimes, I look down at my plate and I am surprised to see that I have eaten most of my meal.
• I finish a meal and feel unsatisfied or really full.
• I generally do two or more things at once.
• When I am bored, stressed, or angry, I go and find something to eat.
• I finish my meals in 15 minutes or less (time your next meal to see!).
Answering yes to two or more of the above questions shows that you might be mindlessly eating at times.
Tomorrow: What causes us to be mindless? Understand the triggers that might cause you to be a mindless eater and learn how you can prepare for the times you end up eating more than you need.
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