Making balanced and healthy eating choices is difficult. Take a look at our society today. According to the Center for Disease Control, about 69% of the population is overweight. Also, many individuals struggle with eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. It’s not easy.
I have experienced struggles with eating in my own life. Growing up, I was overweight until the end of high school. Then I lost a bunch of weight and became rigid and obsessive about diet and exercise. My eating habits weren’t healthy or balanced.
One thing that has helped me develop more healthy and balanced eating habits is to practice mindful eating. Mindful eating involves (1) eating with intention (i.e., to care for yourself and provide your body with the fuel it needs) and (2) eating with attention (i.e., noticing food and the effect it has on your body).
The opposite of mindful eating is mindless eating. When you eat mindlessly, you are on autopilot. You might eat a large amount of food without realizing you were full half a hamburger ago. You might not be in touch with your body and fail to recognize your body’s cues for hunger and fullness.
6 Questions to Help You Eat Mindfully
Dr. Michelle May came up with a series of questions called the Mindful Eating Cycle to help you eat more mindfully. Here are 6 questions to ask yourself about your eating habits:
- Why? Why do you eat? What is driving your eating at any given time?
- When? When do you feel like eating? When do you think about eating? When do you decide to eat?
- What? What do you eat? What do you choose from all the available options?
- How? How do you eat? How do you get the food you have chosen into your body?
- How much? How much do you eat? How much fuel do you consume?
- Where? Where do you invest the energy you consume? Where does the fuel you have consumed go?
Discussion: Are your eating habits more mindful or mindless? Try asking yourself some of the Mindful Eating Cycle questions to see if you can increase your mindfulness while eating.