We’ve all had the experience of eating mindlessly out of boredom or for comfort, wondering how we arrived at the bottom of the ice cream container or bag of potato chips. Maybe we were munching on snacks while watching late night television or consuming one appetizer after another during a lunch meeting, without paying much attention. Mindful eating is not another diet or strict set of rules regarding what to eat or not to eat, but rather an overall approach to how we could fuel our bodies in a healthy, respectful way.

Tune in to your level of hunger or fullness. It is incredibly easy to eat out of habit or according to our social calendar, however learning to listen to and understand our hunger signals will allow us to respond appropriately to our body’s needs. While eating, take the time to pause and pay attention to how you feel. Over time, we learn to read our hunger and fullness signals more easily and are able to eat intuitively.

Savor each bite using all your senses. How many times have you gotten halfway through your meal before realizing you’re eating? Awareness allows us to feel completely satisfied, so paying attention to every bite of food we consume is key. When you sit down to eat, remove any distractions such as the television, computer, or mobile phone. You can create a mealtime ritual that resonates with you, if you’d like, such as placing both feet on the ground and mentally expressing your gratitude for the nourishment before you.

Accept without judgment and continue. We all give in to temptation sometimes and rather than beating yourself up the next time this happens, accept it and move on. Maybe you ate the pint of ice cream rather than a bowl, or had too much cake at your nephew’s birthday party, but rather than dwelling on this and giving up on eating healthfully altogether, accepting what is done and starting over in this moment in time helps us to move past any so called mistakes or setbacks.

Meditation instructor Alice Lash offers mindfulness meditation in Miami. Learn how to meditate and to be more mindful in your everyday life with Mindfultime.

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