The BASICS of Mindful Eating
As we move through the holiday season and the new year is approaching, it is a perfect time to share some skills that our Nutrition, Health and Safety team gained by participating in a ten-session, online mindful eating class that will become embedded in our nutrition education programming in 2021. Developed and led by Lynn Rossy, Ph.D., Eat for Life reaches people from all parts of the world in learning how to eat mindfully and intuitively by attaining a better relationship with food and our bodies. This scientifically validated program was published in the American Journal of Health Promotion in 2014. Her book, The Mindfulness-Based Eating Solution, is based on the concepts in Eat for Life. Rossy received her doctorate from the University of Missouri and is currently President of The Center for Mindful Eating.
Here’s the BASICS:
B – Breathe and belly check before you eat to assess hunger and satiety
Take a few deep breaths as you begin to check in with your belly. Are there sensations of physical hunger? How hungry are you? Listen to what your body is telling you. General rule: eat when you’re hungry; don’t eat when you’re not hungry.
A - Assess your Food
Does it look appealing? What does it smell like? Is it a food you can recognize (e.g. natural and unprocessed) or is it a food-like substance (e.g. so processed that you don’t know where it comes from)? You might ask yourself if this is the food you really want.
S - Slow Down while you are eating
Simple methods to help you slow down include putting down your fork or spoon between bites and pausing to take a breath between bites. If you are eating with others, try talking and listening without your eating utensil in hand and notice how it changes the tone of the meal.
I - Investigate your hunger throughout the meal
Rather than regretting feeling stuffed after all the food is gone or following old rules telling you how much you should or should not eat, give yourself permission to stop or continue based on awareness of your hunger and satiety cues. People in Okinawa say “Hara Hachi Bu” before meals to remind them to stop eating when their stomachs are 80% full.
C – Chew Your Food Thoroughly
By chewing your food thoroughly, your body will process the food more efficiently. As a result, you will notice your hunger dissipating. The sooner you are aware of satiety, the less likely you will over-eat.
S – Savor Your Food
Food is a wonderful part of our lives, to be enjoyed and savored. Take time to choose food you really like and food that satisfies you. Becoming a conscious consumer of food so that what you eat and how you eat honors your body and your taste buds.
During this holiday season, let’s recognize how eating connects us with the world and be grateful for how it gives us life.