Mindful eating.  We’ve all heard of it, but what is it exactly?  Mindful eating is intentionally paying attention to what and why you are eating in the present moment, using your senses.  Paying attention to hunger cues (Am I hungry?) and fullness cues (Have I eaten enough – am I full?) is important in weight loss.  Different triggers can cause us to not eat mindfully:  boredom, stress, emotions, etc.  Identifying those triggers and replacing the food with non-food alternatives leads to success.  Mindful eating aids in long term weight loss success, as well as successful maintenance of weight once you reach your goal!

Sometimes, it’s easy to let ourselves think we are hungry, when maybe we are bored, stressed, sad, angry, happy, or frustrated.  I know that during the evenings I watch a movie, or maybe the nights I spend some time studying, I find myself going to food to snack on merely out of boredom, rather than true hunger.  Oftentimes, those foods are not the most desirable food choices.  I become a mindless eater.  It’s easy to do this when we get busy or distracted, but we have to remind ourselves to stop and think, “Am I truly hungry, or am I just bored – or maybe even thirsty?” Engaging in mindful eating helps guide us to consistent success! 

Brainstorm some of your favorite hobbies to replace that moment of boredom where you want to reach for food, or glance at the list below for a few non-food alternatives.

  • Playing an instrument
  • Make a mug of decaf hot tea
  • Painting or drawing
  • Putting together a puzzle
  • Playing fetch with your dog
  • Reading a new book or magazine
  • Painting your fingernails
  • Going on a walk
  • Playing a sport
  • Starting a blog
  • Listening to music
  • Crocheting or knitting
  • Playing a board game
  • Organizing drawers
  • Cleaning out a closet
  • Planting a garden
  • Meditation or yoga
  • Pulling weeds
  • Getting the mail
  • Calling or texting a friend
  • Woodworking
  • Write a letter
  • Learn a foreign language
  • Journaling
  • Work a crossword puzzle
  • Visit a museum
  • Taking your kids on a walk or bike ride
  • Do something seasonal – carve a pumpkin, go see Christmas lights, pick some flowers, etc.

Let’s all practice mindful eating together this week, and replacing those triggers with non-food alternatives!  

-Elise, Intern