It is time to stop dieting, and start eating intuitively!
Mindful eating is not a diet, but an approach to how we perceive food.
We all know that diets don’t account for “life” happening e.g. social events, morning tea shouts, birthdays, and eating out with friends and family. Mindful eating can help us to control our portion sizes without measuring tools and lead us towards a relaxed way of enjoying food without overindulging.
I have put together a few activities for you to have a taster of what mindful eating is about, and hopefully to use in future situations!
Use this scale to identify hunger. Try to respond to hunger when you are “hungry” or “somewhat hungry”. If you wait until you are “very hungry” or “starving” you are putting yourself at risk of overeating.
Not Hungry/Not Full
What do you crave?
Let go of your belief that food should is “good” and “bad”. This thinking interferes with your ability to listen to your true physiological hunger and cravings.
Next time you experience physical hunger, your goal is to find a food to match it.
- Do you crave something hot or cold?
- Spicy? Sweet? Salty?
- Crunchy? Mushy? Soft?
- Carbohydrate? Protein? Fat?
Once you have a specific food in your mind, think about what it would feel like in your mouth and in your stomach. If this feels like a positive experience then go for it! If not then think of alternative foods.
This is a helpful activity for when we are really hungry and tempted to reach for anything quick and easy. I’m sure we all have those days where we get home after a long day and eat anything and everything we can, without thinking about if we want it and how it will make us feel!
Feelings associated with eating
Every day we have “good” and “bad” feelings associated with food. Think about some eating experiences and how they made you feel. Use the examples below as guides:
- It felt good when I stopped eating my hamburger at the moment I felt satisfied.
- It felt bad when I ate some hot chips when I really craved a bowl of soup.
- I felt good when I chose soda water and lemon instead of drinking wine because I am trying to look after my liver.
This helps us to think more about what we are eating and how these foods will make us feel. In turn, this can stop us from mindless snacking on things that we know we don’t really want!
Adapted from “The Diet Survivors Handbook”