colorful food helps us feel nourished

find joy in eating again

                     Nourishing beyond the physical hunger

In today’s fast-paced,multi tasking world, where stress and anxiety seem to be hard to escape, it’s no surprise that many of us turn to food for comfort. Emotional eating, a phenomenon where we eat in response to our feelings rather than physical hunger, is a common coping mechanism. However, it often leaves us feeling unsatisfied and feeling guilty about or choices.

I have touched on mindful eating in some past articles, but this is a more specific look at what it means. Mindful eating involves paying full attention to the experience of eating, from the sensations of chewing and tasting to the emotions and thoughts that arise before, during, and after a meal. Here are some active ways to engage in mindful eating that may help us avoid the cycle of emotional eating:

Slow it Down

In our rush to get through the day, we often eat quickly, barely registering the taste and texture of our food. Another reason we may eat fast is because some of us have made food the enemy, therefore if we eat fast, then its over, and the bad feeling around it will go away faster. By slowing down and savoring each bite, we can fully appreciate the flavors and aromas of our meals. This not only enhances the enjoyment of food but also allows us to tune in to our body’s signals of hunger and fullness. We must eat to live, food is not the enemy!

Engaging the Senses

Mindful eating encourages us to engage all our senses while eating. Notice the colors, shapes, and textures of your food. appreciate what it looks like and how it smells. Chew slowly and pay attention to the taste and mouthfeel of each bite. By fully immersing ourselves in the sensory experience of eating, we can derive greater pleasure and satisfaction from our meals. Beyond that, digestion starts with our senses, the anticipatory response or “cephalic phase”  prepares our body  for full absorption of nutrition.

Creating Awareness

Emotional eating often stems from a lack of awareness of our feelings and needs. Mindful eating invites us to become more attuned to our emotions and the triggers that lead us to eat impulsively. By pausing to check in with ourselves before reaching for food, we can discern whether we’re truly hungry or simply seeking comfort or distraction. To a certain extent, all eating is somewhat emotional, that is why we have our senses, to encourage eating through enjoyment for survival! What we may need to pay attention to however, is if our emotion always drives us to food, even when we truly do not need to eat. Can you see the difference?

Non-judgmental Acceptance

Mindful eating encourages us to approach food with an attitude of non-judgmental acceptance. Rather than labeling foods as “good” or “bad,” we can appreciate them for their nourishing qualities and the pleasure they bring us. This fosters a healthier relationship with food and reduces the guilt and shame often associated with emotional eating. If I eat “bad food” I am therefore a “bad person”. This simply is not true, and doesn’t  work if we are trying to have a healthy relationship with food. We must eat to live, so guilt over eating doesn’t make sense does it?

Gratitude and Appreciation

Finally, mindful eating encourages us to be grateful for the mass amount of food available to us and the effort that went into growing, farming, cooking etc. Taking a moment to express gratitude before each meal can help us approach eating with a sense of reverence and appreciation for the nourishment it provides to our bodies and souls. We can be thankful that we are able to eat, which gives us the strength to help others, do our jobs, enjoy activities and the world around us!

In essence, mindful eating is about more than just satisfying our physical hunger—it’s about nourishing our entire being. By slowing down, engaging our senses, creating  awareness, practicing acceptance, and expressing gratitude, we can transform our relationship with food and find true fulfillment in every bite. So let’s savor each meal as a sacred opportunity to nourish our bodies, minds, and spirits.

If you would like to have a healthy relationship with food and body, I would love to help you start that journey!

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