Stop binge eating with these 5 mindfulness tips!
This blog post was written by Macie Thornhill, Dietetic Intern and Certified Yoga Instructor
Do you struggle with overeating?
Have you tried everything, and nothing seems to work?
Does it all feel worse right now while you’re stuck at home?
You might have noticed that some mindless practices have slipped into your life, especially your eating habits (such as starting at the refrigerator for a solid 20 minutes or having a snack while you’re cooking dinner time). I know I have slipped into these practices (specifically the staring at the refrigerator one).
Using mindfulness, you can combat your overeating habits with something that actually works!
As a dietetic intern and a registered yoga instructor, I have been able to take my mindful practice of yoga and put in into practice with my everyday task of eating to adopt this practice of mindful eating.
So how do I do this?
I will share this practice and tips with you here. My goal for you is to help you create a mindfulness practice of your own!
Mindfulness Practice #1: Actually Chew Your Food
It is recommended to chew your food about 15-20 times (that’s a lot of times to chew, go ahead, try it).
But what I mean by that is to actually THINK about the practice of chewing. Most of us only chew about 5 times before we swallow.
Once we sit back and actually think about chewing, automatically we become more mindful about our eating.
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Now I’m not telling you for every time you take a bite of something to count 20 chews. I’m suggesting that you simply become aware of your chewing practices every time you eat.
You might notice that you end up eating less during each meal.
Mindfulness Practice #2: Turn Off the Electronics
That means no TV and no phone while you eat. Some of you might be thinking, absolutely not. But when you turn off these distractions, all you have to focus on is your eating (and that is not an easy thing to do if you’re not use to it).
By practicing this, your attention is focused on all of the flavors and textures of YOUR food (even if it’s a frozen dinner) rather than Karen’s Instagram post of her perfect homemade lasagna with handmade pasta.
Getting rid of these distractions will help you be more attentive to your food and your hunger cues.
I recommend putting on soft music in the background, it can be quite soothing instead of silence.
Mindfulness Practice #3: Consider Where Your Food Comes From
Ponder these questions before or while you are eating:
- How did you get your food?
- How did your food grow?
- What components make up your food?
As you ponder these questions, you may start to develop a sense of gratitude. Maybe you will start to eat your food with a greater appreciation for it, whether it is a home cooked meal or a frozen dinner.
Mindfulness Practice #4: Close Your Eyes While You Eat
By practicing this you start to notice new things:
- New flavors
- How you chew
- What it feels like to be full
By closing your eyes, you slow down your eating and solely focus on your food. You may then notice you ultimately eat less and actually enjoy the process of eating.
Mindfulness Practice #5: Gratitude
Be grateful for your ability to eat, taste, and receive food.
This is probably the toughest mindfulness practice to do. It requires practicing all of the above techniques, and in return this practice just comes naturally.
When you become this mindful about your eating, you will notice that you will naturally eat less, you may choose new foods to eat or try, and you will find gratitude every time you eat. You may notice you become less stressed and more at ease.
As a yoga instructor, I have become very passionate about mindful eating and connecting my daily practice of eating with yoga philosophy.
One more thing I would like to share with you is this concept of chakras. Chakras are physical points on the body that ignite energy and sensations. One chakra in particular I want to expand on is the Solar Plexus Chakra, Manipura.
This chakra’s is physically located right above your belly button, right about where your stomach is. Its main purpose is to aid in digestion because its function is to govern metabolism in your body. Manipura’s element is fire. So, it makes sense that it works hand in hand with digestion because this gives our bodies fuel; or related to the chakra, it gives our body fire and energy.
So, when we focus our attention at this physical location when we eat, or after we eat, we focus on helping our body digest food.
So next time you eat, sit down and allow your body the time to properly absorb your food and give it the time and space to let the digestive tract move naturally.
I challenge you to work on at least one mindfulness practice this week. Just one. And notice how you feel after working on this mindfulness practice not only in your eating habits but in your everyday life.
I wish you happiness and mindfulness the next time you eat.
Your Next Steps
Learn how to become a mindful eater by scheduling a consultation with one of our registered dietitians. We’ll help you find the right eating pattern to help you stop binge eating & reach your goals.
Blog written by: Macie Thornhill, 200 RYT
Dietetic Intern, University of Delaware
Bachelor of Science in nutrition and dietetics, University of North Florida
Bachelor of Science in public health, Stetson University
Reviewed by: Kait Richardson RD, LD
Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. I am not a medical doctor and recommendations provided should not take the place of medical advice or treatment.
Some blog posts may contain one or more affiliate links. I was not paid by any of the companies above to review their products. All opinions are my own.
Kait Richardson is a registered dietitian nutritionist in Orlando, FL. She is a partner at a private practice, Nutrition Awareness, where she helps frustrated yo-yo dieters reach their health goals using 1:1 nutrition coaching. She is the co-host of the Nutrition Awareness Podcast.