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How to Practice Mindful Eating

Updated on November 26, 2014

Mindfully Eating

How to Practice Mindful Eating
How to Practice Mindful Eating

The Best Tips for Learning How to Eat More Mindfully

While mindful eating is part of a normal Buddhist practice, the technique of mindful eating has grown in popularity as a weight loss method and a helpful way to maintain weight.

This eating method can be used as a supplement to other dieting techniques, but is even more successful long-term if adopted as an eating lifestyle.

In an interview with Oprah Buddhist master, Thich Nhat Hanh offered this advice about eating more mindfully,

"When we can slow down and really enjoy our food, our life and our health, we take on a much deeper quality."

One of my life goals starting in 2011 was to learn to eat more mindfully and healthfully. What you will find collected here are the resources from many of the leading experts that I discovered in my quest to learn how to stop the mindless eating and munching. By watching the videos and reading the articles you will be able to practice more mindful eating. Also include are tips to curb the mindless eating and tips to help you savor eating.

Learn how to meditate, how to eat being more mindfully, become more mindful with your food choices and be more fully present in the moment. Read on to discover how you can start eating more mindfully starting today.

Orange image modified from Brybs' Orange. Royalty Free Use.

Orange in the Hand

Orange in the Hand
Orange in the Hand | Source

Defining Mindful Eating

According to the Sensagent Dictionary

  • Mindful Eating is a set of techniques and philosophies that encourage eating food with one's full attention. Mindful Eating may be considered as an offshoot of the general techniques of Buddhist Mindfulness.
  • The specific techniques of Mindful Eating relate to focused concentration on the sensations generated by the physiological and psychological effects of eating.
Source: Definition of Mindful Eating from Sensagent Dictionary.

Image of Orange by Lusi.

Debate - Mindful Eating

Do you think being more mindful when eating can help with weight loss or weight control?

Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life

Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life
Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life

Zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh and Harvard Nutrition professor Lilian Cheung have written Savor to help people understand how eating mindfully can help to improve your weight and your life.

The book looks at the latest nutritional information with the Buddhist practice of mindfulness to make readers more aware of what and how we eat.

 

Grab an Orange, a Cutie or a Halo to Get Started

Seven Practices of Mindful Eating

These are the seven practices of mindful eating recommended by Harvard School of Public Health, Lilian Cheung and Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh.

  1. Honor the food.
  2. Engage all your senses.
  3. Be mindful of portion sizes.
  4. Chew your food.
  5. Eat slowly.
  6. Do not skip meals.
  7. Eat a plant-based diet.

Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life - Video

From Harvard School of Public Health, Lilian Cheung, editorial director of The Nutrition Source website, is the co-author of new book, Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life, written with world-renowned Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh.

In this video, Cheung describes the seven practices of mindful eating.

Feelings, whether of compassion or irritation, should be welcomed, recognized, and treated on an absolutely equal basis; because both are ourselves.

The tangerine I am eating is me. The mustard greens I am planting are me.

I plant with all my heart and mind.

— Thich Nhat Hanh

Contemplating an Orange

Image by theodore99
Image by theodore99

Sun through a Mandarin Orange by theodore99

Tips to Curb Mindless Eating

This collection of tips have been compiled from the many eating tips presented by John Tesh on his "Intelligence for Your Life Show" and the other authors highlighted on this page.

  • Block the smells.

    The smell of favorite foods can be a big trigger for many people to start salivating and want to eat what they are smelling.

    Eat a mint, chew peppermint gum or a eucalyptus lozenge to help in resisting smells (e.g. baking bread, fried foods).

  • Make food and beverages seem bigger.

    Choose smaller plates, taller glasses

    Trick your mind into thinking you are eating more by serving food on smaller plates.

    Drink from tall glasses, to think that you are drinking more. Both of these tricks will help you feel full sooner.

  • Limit Variety.

    With a variety of food, we feel that we need to try everything, so will overindulge. Pick one main item, not several and fill up on fruits and veggies.

  • Simplify flavors.

    People will eat more M&M's if they have the choice of many colors rather than just one. Stick to a single item rather than mixing it up. You'll be less likely overindulge.

  • Savor foods and beverages.

    Learn to enjoy the foods you are eating.

    Eating more mindfully allows the body and brain to register that something has been eaten, so helps to cut down on the mindless eating.

  • Heat up foods.

    Warm and hot foods are more satisfying so people eat less.

    Eating warm foods, even warm leftovers will help fill you up faster.

  • Eat for at least 20 but no more than 30 minutes.

    Too short of a time eating can be as bad as too long. It takes 20 minutes for stomach to register that you have eaten.

    A longer time spend eating entices many people to go back for seconds.

  • Out of sight, out of mind - Keep food at a distance.

    People are more inclined to eat mindlessly if the food is in front of them, rather than further away. Getting up and walking to get the food makes you think about whether you really want to eat.

  • Practice portion control for meals.

    Serve plates from the kitchen, not the table.

    Fill plates where the food is in the kitchen and don't bring the extras to the table. This will help cut down on extra servings.

  • Watch out for cold temperatures - you eat more.

    In cold weather the body needs more energy to stay warm, so people eat more. Curb overeating by turning up the heat in the winter and down in the summer.

  • Dim the lights to slow down eating.

    Bright lights make people feel stressed and encourage them to eat faster. Remember the stomach needs about 20 minutes to recognize it is full.

  • Save the music for when you are not eating.

    People listening to soft music took longer to eat so they ate more calories. Rock music makes you eat faster so people eat more.

When we can slow down and really enjoy our food, our life and our health, we take on a much deeper quality.

I love to sit and eat quietly and enjoy each bite, aware of the presence of my community, aware of all the hard and loving work that has gone into my food.

When I eat in this way, not only am I physically nourished, I am also spiritually nourished.

— Thich Nhat Hanh

Present Moment Wonderful Moment

Present Moment Wonderful Moment Gift Box
Present Moment Wonderful Moment Gift Box

Present Moment Wonderful Moment includes 52 Inspirational Cards and a Companion Book written by Thich Nhat Hanh.

Included in this book is a section on Mindful Eating. A beautiful book for anyone wanting to be able to focus more on the moment.

 

Sliced Orange

Image by lockstockb
Image by lockstockb

Healthy Orange by lockstockb.

How to Practice Mindful Eating - Video

Watch this video clip from Howcast. It will help you figure out how in a world of fast food and multi-tasking during meals you can try mindful eating to break this busy cycle and achieve some inner peace.

Mindful Eating Trance - Video

Harvard Hypnosis Instructor Jean Fain shows you how to harness the power of your unconscious mind and gain control of your eating.

The Self-Compassion Diet

The Self-Compassion Diet: A Step-by-Step Program to Lose Weight with Loving-Kindness
The Self-Compassion Diet: A Step-by-Step Program to Lose Weight with Loving-Kindness

In "The Self-Compassion Diet: A Step-by-Step Program to Lose Weight with Loving-Kindness" licensed psychotherapist Jean Fain suggests that "The best way to lose weight and look your best is to stop dieting and start with loving who you are."

She combines four proven weight-loss methods--self-love, mindfulness, self-hypnosis, and group support--to create a unique mind-body approach to weight loss.

 

When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love.

— Thich Nhat Hanh

Mindful Eating: Mindful Life - Video Clip

TV interview of Mary Ann Wallace, MD, about her latest book "Mindful Eating: MIndful Life" by KVAL TV in Eugene, Oregon.

Mindful Eating: Mindful Life carries the reader right to the roots of maladaptive eating habits. Designed for the layperson, this book explains in clear and often humorous language how and why we overeat. Exploring the reasons behind why we eat what we do has become Dr. Wallace's forte.

Mindful Eating Mindful Life

Mindful Eating: Mindful Life - Book

Mindful Eating: Mindful Life: How to Change the Habits That Sabotage Your Health
Mindful Eating: Mindful Life: How to Change the Habits That Sabotage Your Health

Written by Dr. Mary Ann Wallace this book and the accompanying CD draws from conventional medicine and Chinese medicine to teach people how to eat more mindfully.

 

Mindful Eating Video Tips from Dr. Susan Albers

50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food

50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food
50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food

A very helpful book from Dr. Susan Albers with a collection of 50 mindfulness skills and practices for relaxing the body in times of stress.

Incorporating some of the 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food will help in ending your dependence on eating as a means of coping with difficult emotions.

 

Eating Tips for College Students (and the Rest of Us)

Tips for College students to prevent mindless eating from lborel44. These tips are based on the word THINK.

  • Take time to enjoy food.
  • Have balance in food choices. Fill half of your plate with veggies.
  • In control of serving sizes. Limit sizes through small plates, bowls or zip lock bags. When given more food, people are likely to eat more.
  • Notice impulses. Watch for mindless eating. Keep snacks and cookies out of reach.
  • Knowledge is power.

Mindful Eating 101: A Guide to Healthy Eating in College and Beyond

Mindful Eating 101: A Guide to Healthy Eating in College and Beyond
Mindful Eating 101: A Guide to Healthy Eating in College and Beyond

Dr. Susan Albers uses the principles of mindfulness to help make more mindful food choices to avoid the dreaded "freshman fifteen."

According to the book review the book is designed to "help readers navigate the weight obsessed, diet-crazed, high pressured, fast-food-saturated college environment, establishing patterns of eating that will form the groundwork for a healthier life well beyond college."

 

Eating Mindfully Workbook

Eat, Drink, and Be Mindful: How to End Your Struggle with Mindless Eating and Start Savoring Food with Intention and Joy
Eat, Drink, and Be Mindful: How to End Your Struggle with Mindless Eating and Start Savoring Food with Intention and Joy

A helpful workbook from Dr. Susan Albers to guide people through the concepts of Mindful eating.

 

More Books on Mindful Eating

More recommended books on Mindful Eating from other expert noted authors.

Meal by Meal Meditations

Meal by Meal: 365 Daily Meditations for Finding Balance Through Mindful Eating
Meal by Meal: 365 Daily Meditations for Finding Balance Through Mindful Eating

Perfect for your kindle 365 Daily Meditations for Mindful Eating

 

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves

- slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future;

Live the actual moment.

Only this moment is life.

— Thich Nhat Hanh

Tea with Orange

Tea with Orange.
Tea with Orange. | Source

Tea with Orange modified from anya-anya's Tea.

Orange Tea for One

Yedi Houseware Classic Coffee and Tea Siena Tea For One with Saucer, Orange/Light Grey
Yedi Houseware Classic Coffee and Tea Siena Tea For One with Saucer, Orange/Light Grey

Tea for One with porcelain cup, saucer and teapot in Orange and Light Grey.

This Siena Set will allow you to mindfully sip tea.

 

Orange Teas to Drink Mindfully

My favorite orange teas...

Mindfulness helps you go home to the present.

And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes.

— Thich Nhat Hanh

Afternoon Tea with Oranges

Image by A Girl with Tea
Image by A Girl with Tea

Afternoon Tea by A Girl with Tea.

If we are peaceful,

if we are happy,

we can smile and blossom like a flower,

and everyone in our family, our entire society,

will benefit from our peace.

— Thich Nhat Hanh

Orange Lotus

Image by ftibor
Image by ftibor

Orange Lotus by ftibor

I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth.

Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child -- our own two eyes.

All is a miracle.

— Thich Nhat Hanh

Baby with Orange

Image by tuareq
Image by tuareq

Recognizing the Miracle that is the Curious Eyes of a Child

Baby with Orange by tuareq.

How to Meditate, Even at Your Desk - Video

CNN's Dr. Charles Raison shows you how to escape in the office. All you need is a chair and five minutes for meditation.

Other Resources to Help Improve Mindful Eating

Mints, peppermint gum, eucalyptus scented candles and lotion can help to block the smells that may cause one to start eating.

The Zen clock is a soothing way to set a timer, whether to wake in the morning or perhaps a reminder to get up and exercise.

Have you been inspired to become more mindful when you eat?

Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Comments on Mindful Eating

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    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 6 years ago

      I love the photo of the baby with the orange too and congratulations on your milestone. Beautifully presented as usual.

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 6 years ago from So Cal

      There is too much to read all at one time. This seems so simple and yet, promises a bigger yield. Thanks for sharing this.

    • dwnovacek profile image

      dwnovacek 6 years ago

      Mindful eating is something I very much need to learn and practice. Thank you for this wonderfully presented information. Angel Blessings!

    • capriliz lm profile image

      capriliz lm 6 years ago

      Wonderful lens to celebrate number 400. Congratulations. And I love the photo of the baby with the orange!

    • profile image

      GiftsBonanza 6 years ago

      Such great information, definitely coming back to read more :)

    • tiff0315 profile image

      tiff0315 6 years ago

      Definitely! Thank you for all the great information