When eating mindfully, you pay close attention to your food. Unsurprisingly, slowing down and avoiding distractions are two main pillars of this practice. They help you shift awareness to the dish in front of you, how much you’ve eaten and how your body reacts to it. And since you’re concentrated, it’ll be easier to identify and differentiate sensations such as real hunger, satiety, cravings, and emotional eating urges.
As you might guess, mindful eating is a practice with its roots in Buddhist meditation techniques. These methods focus on cultivating mindfulness, a state where you concentrate on being present and experiencing the moment. When this is done during meals or snacks, you practice mindful eating.
This means you eat slowly and deliberately, being aware of and concentrating deeply on every aspect of the food. This starts with carefully looking at it, taking in its smell and feeling the texture and consistency. When you have a bite, you analyze all the different flavors you detect, the temperature and how it feels while you’re chewing. In short, you experience your food, whether a complex dish or a small piece of fruit, with all your senses.
Becoming aware of every detail of your dish is a big part of mindful eating, but it’s only one variation of the practice.
Even though there are differences in how people practice mindful eating, the overall focus remains the same: to deeply experience the food instead of overanalyzing your choices, their nutritious value or energy content.