If you read last week’s blog on How to Sabotage Your Next Diet, and if you have ever dieted before, there is a good chance you could relate. The truth of the matter is, when we diet, we tend to experience feelings such a guilt, shame, and failure, which are not much fun at all. Food and eating is meant to bring us joy and pleasure, not to shame us for enjoying it.
Mindfulness, the concept of moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, sensations, and environment, is becoming a well-documented tool for mental health, but did you know the principles could also be applied to diet?
In fact, most of us likely practice the opposite of mindful eating, we are more likely engaging in mindless eating. We lack awareness of how we fill our plate, or our portion size. We eat in front of the TV or computer, and we do not notice cues in our body signaling us that we are full. With mindless eating, most of us can consume an unnoticed 200-300 calories each day, which overtime can lead to unwanted weight gain. Consider this: have you ever been eating chips and went to put your hand in the bag, only to find it empty? Or have you ever eaten the last piece of crusty, dried out chocolate cake even though it tasted like cardboard?
Without thought, a lot of the cues in our environment and body go unnoticed.
Below are a series of questions to ask yourself about your eating and eating habits.
Take a few moments to complete the Mindful Eating Self-Assessment Questionnaire.
Once you complete the questionnaire, take some time to review it.
The point of this exercise is to start the process of becoming more aware of situations surrounding food. Why you may eat in certain situations, what your feelings usually are when you are eating, if you are aware of the surroundings that make you more likely to participate in unhealthy behaviours?
We first must begin to notice our behaviours before we being to change them.
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Framson C, Kristal AR, Schenk JM, Littman AJ, Zeliadt S, Benitez D. Development and validation of the Mindful Eating Questionnaire. J Am Diet Assoc 2009;109:1439-1444.