Stress reducing eating habits-How to eat mindfully?


When you eat, just eat!

Eating mindlessly – gulping down food while in front of a television, working at their desks, or driving a car.  This mindless eating can lead to overeating because individuals may not be fully aware of why they are eating, what they are eating, and of the actual sensations of eating -such as the taste, smell, and texture of food, or the feeling of being full or satisfied with the food eaten. Overeating  because of guilt, loneliness, boredom, or anxiety.

Self check-up :

  • Do I eat even when I am full?
  • Do I continue to snack until I feel bloated and uncomfortable?
  • Do I mindlessly snack on foods I don’t like, just because they are available?
  • Do I “zone out” when I eat?
  • Do I forget (or not even notice) how a food smells, tastes, or feels when I eat it?
  • Do I eat when I feel anxious?
  • Do I often multitask when I eat?
  • Do I stand up (or watch TV) when I eat?

If any of these questions were answered yes, then the individual is probably not eating mindfully !!

Three steps to eat mindfully:

Tune in :

  1. to the physical characteristics of food. Be aware of  how food tastes, smells,  feels on the tongue, if it is ht or cold. The mouth can be used as a magnifying glass to zoom in on the food and all its subtle and not-so-subtle characteristics.
  2. to the repetitive habits and the process of eating.  Take the time to notice your eating habit. Are you on “autopilot,” eating out of habit, eating at the same time every day, multitasking while eating, or eating the same foods over and over?
  3. to mindless eating triggers. Be extremely aware of what prompts you to start and stop eating. Is eating triggered by a bad day at work, boredom, negative mind chatter (such as “I’m so lazy!”), or stress?  Being aware of how the body and mind feel between meals, or when it is time to eat, means that triggers can be anticipated and better food choices made as a result.

 Seven basic skills  of a Mindful Eater:

  1. Awareness of one’s body when it is hungry, stressed, in  pain and emotional; awareness of the positive and nurturing opportunities available through food preparation and consumption by respecting one’s own wisdom.
  2. Observation of one’s body, feelings, and thoughts, especially those that trigger mindless eating.
  3. Being in the moment so one is fully present to the sensations of eating and nothing else.
  4. Being mindful of the environment in which eating takes place so a relaxing, supportive location is used and individuals who are also eating are positive and relaxed. Mindful eating can also include being aware of with whom one is eating.
  5. A nonjudgmental attitude toward food choices is cultivated so criticism and scrutiny are decreased, and negative (judgmental) thoughts are released. It involves knowing that there is no right or wrong way to eat but varying degrees of awareness surrounding the experience of food.
  6. Letting go of the way things (such as body size) “should be” and not letting food as a reason to numb the present feelings.
  7. Acceptance of the way things are so the other steps become easier to implement.
Note: Stress induces mindless eating and this further proceed to overeating,leading to stress induced eating habits such as Anorexia nervosaBulimia nervosaBinge eating disorder(EDNOS)


Susan Albers

Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment & Prevention

American Psychological Association

The Center for mindful eating