Skip to Content

Balanced and Satisfied: 10 Steps for Mindful Eating

Last updated: May 14, 2024

It is a joy to eat, but how often do you devote your full attention to the act?

From phone scrolling while noshing to munching in front of the TV to hurrying through meals in life’s busyness, distracted eating can happen for many reasons. Not only is this habit less satisfying, but it can also lead to overeating and weight gain.

Mindful eating offers a powerful way to take more pleasure in eating and help manage weight. Adopting this habit takes time and practice. To get tips, we checked in with Leah Karaliunas-Kempen, a bariatric-weight wellness dietitian with ThedaCare.

“We tend to focus heavily on what and how much we eat,” Karaliunas-Kempen says. “Understanding why — and how — we eat is equally important.”

10 Steps to Mindful Eating

1. Make sure you’re truly hungry

It’s easy to give into emotional eating. To head off the tendency, ask yourself these questions before eating.

  • Am I truly hungry?
  • When did I last eat?
  • Am I thirsty?
  • Am I angry, tired, or upset?
  • Am I bored?

2. Set aside time just for eating

Don’t make meals an afterthought. Choose a time when you can be fully present and enjoy your meal.

3. Nix distractions

Paying attention to stimuli other than eating can interfere with the ability to feel full. Place your cellphone in another room if needed. Close your laptop. Turn off the TV.

4. Choose food carefully

Focus on filling your plate with whole, healthy foods. Select foods rich in protein and fiber.

5. Portion wisely

If you’re snacking, look at the portion size and follow it. Place that amount in a bowl versus eating directly out of the bag.

6. Practice gratitude

Taking a moment to appreciate what’s before you can help slow you down. It’s also great for your emotional health. You might contemplate the earth’s rich bounty, all the individuals involved in food production and sales, and the people who sit at the table with you.

7. Eat slowly

Experts say it takes 20 to 30 minutes to feel full. Slowing down can help you avoid overeating before your brain has a chance to catch up. Aim to set aside at least 20 minutes for your meal. Slow down your eating pace so that it takes the full 20 minutes.

8. Chew thoroughly

Chewing your food about 30 times can aid in digestion and help you slow your eating pace.

9. Indulge your senses

What’s in the dish you’re eating? Focus on the color, texture, and aroma of your food. Try to identify and appreciate all the flavors and components.

10. Listen to physical cues

Eating more slowly should help you better recognize when you’re full. Nevertheless, pay attention to your body and make sure to stop eating when you’re sated.  

“Practicing mindful eating can help you not only manage your weight but also improve your mental health,” Karaliunas-Kempen says. “Consider adopting this practice as part of your long-term weight wellness strategy.”

Tags: bariatrics healthy eating mindful eating weight loss solutions Weight Management

Related Articles

Link to the full post Inspired Stories Weight Management

Embracing Hope: Russ’s Journey to Choosing Weight Loss Surgery

Link to the full post Inspired Stories Weight Management

A New Chance at Life: Jennifer’s Weight Loss Surgery Story