How often are you mindful of where and how you eat? How many meals a day do you eat at a table with people you care about, free of distraction?
Most of us are aware that being mindful about what we eat is a vital factor to good nutrition. What we don’t always acknowledge is that being mindful of how we eat is just as valuable.
Let’s breakdown mindless versus mindful eating. The two are compared in the table below.
|Mindless Eating||Mindful Eating|
|Eating while multitasking |
Eating when our emotions tell us to (sad, bored, lonely, etc.)
Ignoring our body’s signals and eating past full (often happens when we eat too fast)
Eating alone at random times and places
Eating foods that provide emotional support (comfort foods)
|Eating and only eating|
Eating when our body signals it needs fuel (growling stomach, feeling low energy)
Eating slowly to allow our brain to signal to our body when we are full
Eating on a schedule at places designated for eating with other people
Eating foods that provide nutritional value and health benefits
How can eating mindfully help you with your nutrition goals?
- Eating mindfully will naturally help you control the quantity of food you consume.
- Eating mindfully will make you more aware of the quality of foods you are choosing to consume.
How can eating mindlessly sabotage your nutrition goals?
- When eating mindlessly, the chances of overeating (thus putting you into a calorie surplus) are higher. Eating while distracted or eating too quickly causes people to eat past the point of fullness without allowing the body time to indicate it is full.
- Eating mindlessly can also support the development of bad habits. One example is using food as a way to cope with emotions or boredom, rather than using food as a source of energy for your body.