Mindful eating is a tool used to tune into the sensations of eating in the present moment in order to truly taste, experience, and enjoy your food. Being present while eating allows you to feel satisfied with the amount of food that is right for your body at any given time, and helps break patterns of binging, restricting, and eating compulsively.
Being mindful of your body teaches you to reconnect with the sensations of hunger and fullness you may have lost touch with due to dieting, eating emotionally, and binging.
Using the scale below, you can learn to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. It may be helpful to keep a journal to track your observations and your progress.
When you notice you feel like eating, rate your hunger sensations using the 0-10 scale. You are aiming to keep yourself in around number 5. If your hunger is a 3 or 4, it is time to eat. If you let yourself get any hungrier, it is likely you will overeat. Start by eating a small portion, then rate yourself again. Are you satisfied? Still hungry? When you reach a 6, stop eating. Wait 15 minutes and rate yourself again. If you are still hungry, eat a little more, then stop. This takes practice, but if you make mindfulness a habit, it will become second nature.
If you eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full, there is no need for diets. Your body will reach a healthy, stable weight.
Mindfulness of the Body Scale
10 Overfed. Body can hardly move, swollen, nauseous,
desire to vomit.
9 As if I just ate a large Thanksgiving/holiday meal, gored,
heavy, sleepy. Need to loosen belt.
8 Clearly ate too much. Stuffed. Stomach crammed with
food, zipper is tight.
7 Very full. Stomach feels filled, body and clothing are a
6 Pretty full. Not much room left in stomach. Could eat a
few more bites.
5 Comfortably satisfied. Satiated. Stomach is appropriately
extended. Could turn down more food. Energy level is
adequate for movement and posture.
4 Mild Appetite. Body is altering you of hunger. Stomach
not quite full or satisfied, a snack or a few bites are in need.
3 Moderately hungry, stomach making noises, empty feeling
in belly, room for a complete meal. A little sluggish.
2 Very hungry. Low energy. A little irritable. Beginning to
crave particular foods.
0 Fasting. Starving. Tired. Hollow stomach. Dizzy, Weak.
Can hardly move.
Created by: Susan Albers PsyD © 2004 All rights reserved. For more information see www.eatingmindfully.com
If you find yourself struggling with mindful eating, give us a call. We can help you with these basic principles, or with emotional difficulties that create obstacles to mindful eating.
For more information on mindful eating, call us at 773-525-3322, ext. 42.