With this article, understand the basics of mindful eating. Also, learn how to fuel your body comfortably and stop eating mindlessly and stop when you are full, not satisfied.
Mindful eating often means enjoying meals and snacks without distractions or mindless stuffing. Being fully aware of the taste, texture, and smell of food can make seating more enjoyable and lead to a more satisfying dining experience.
Try using this hunger scale to improve your mindful eating skills and learn your eating habits.
(Related: Mindful Eating Versus Fad Diets)
I. The Hunger Scale: The Guide to Mindful Eating
- Empty, may feel ill, Difficult to concentrate, and Dizzy?
- “Hangry”, Ravenous Nauseous, and want to eat the first thing in sight?
- Strong desire to eat, very strong hunger cues, and may feel hunger pangs?
- Beginning to feel hunger, start to receive hunger cues, and the stomach begins to grumble?
- Neutral, not hungry or full, and the body has enough energy?
- Fully satisfied, no hunger cues being received?
- Moving past satisfied, may eat a few more bites for pleasure?
- Feeling stuffed, may begin to feel slightly uncomfortable?
- Uncomfortable, bloated, and tired “food coma”-ed?
- Beyond full, sick feeling, no desire to look at food?
II. How to use The Hunger Scale? And what’s going on with Mindful Eating?
When you feel like bingeing, H.A.L.T., and understand what’s going on with your body, and emotions. Understanding your emotions and body in a better way will help you understand your eating habits and what’s causing all the compulsive eating habits.
Your stomach is empty, and your blood sugars are low, so your body sends urgent signals to hurry up and find food to eat.
What to do: Portion out a balanced meal, eat slowly, spend 20 minutes drinking herbal tea and relaxing, then reassess your hunger and respond appropriately.
Anger, stress, and frustration often trigger our instincts for violation and aggression. With no foe to fight, our brain starts and seeks to conquer (Large quantities of) food and get a chemical release in return.
What to do: Gearup and get out! A quick run, mindful yoga session, or maybe a quick workout is a way better option for aggression than mindlessly eating/overeating. Other alternatives: dancing, listening to angry music, yelling, singing, ranting to a friend, or taking a shower.
Loneliness and disappointment are real, but even comfort food isn’t a good substitute for companionship, and bingeing will make you feel even more isolated.
What to do: Call or text a friend and remind yourself of the people who care. If you want to be alone, curl up with a distracting movie, Tv show, or a book.
When we are tired and sleep-deprived, the chemicals that regulate the appetite in our body get screwed up, and as a result of this, often our body tries to compensate for a lack of energy nutrition by asking for lots of sugars.
What to do: It sounds obvious, but the best way to address this feeling is to go to sleep! No hour’s too early to go to bed if your body needs rest. You can plan to get up early and finish your obligations when you’re well-rested and focused.
III. Ways to Practice Mindful Eating
1. Mindful Eating:
- Listening to your body and stop eating when you are 80% full, not when you are completely satisfied.
- Continue eating when our bodies tell us to eat or need us to eat (i.e., stomach growling, low energy)
- Eating with other people at a set time and place.
- Eating nutritionally healthy foods
- When eating, focus on just eating (No phones, or tv)
- Be mindful of where is your food coming from and learn more about healthy food.
2. Mindless Eating:
- Eating past full and ignoring your body’s signals to stop eating.
- Eating when emotions tell us to eat and eat whatever it tells us to eat. (i.e., sad, bored, lonely, and angry)
- Eating alone, at random times and places
- Eating emotionally comforting food
- Considering a meal an end product
- Eating and multitasking
- Always cook in a great mood, and also make sure to eat in a good mood
- Feel the taste of food
- Listen to soft and relaxing music
- Eat your favorite food last when you don’t have much appetite left
- Don’t indulge in multitasking while eating
- Sit at a real table while eating
- Respect and listen to your body and health
- Drink more water
- Don’t hurry
- And be more present and mindful while eating
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