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  • Writer's pictureSam Finkelstein, RD

The Science of Mindfulness

Image courtesy of Summer Tomato

My two favorite things are married together in this infographic! ​SCIENCE + MINDFULNESS It's pretty incredible what our bodies are capable of. Our biggest role is just to give our bodies the mic, and then to do what we're told. As this infographic indicates, mindful eating has been shown to help with an array of things, from increasing immune health, to helping our bodies get to their natural weight, and even improving mood. Some additional ideas for how to incorporate mindful eating into your day: 1) Turn off the TV at meal times Studies on mindfulness have shown that, when distracted, people will often eat larger quantities, even when the food doesn't taste good! The television is a common distraction - try starting with 1 meal a day sans TV, and see what happens. 2) Take a true break during the day Instead of trying to work through lunch, or multitask (eating while working), see what it feels like to step away from whatever you're doing to allow your meal to be the main event. ​3) Eat what sounds good, and get present for it How many times have you made a decision around what to eat based on what you "should" have instead of what sounds good? Any recollection on what has happened when you've done this? Often times folks end up left with the craving they had to begin with, with food in their bellies that they didn't want anyway. Many people, subject to their bodies' ability to make sure you get the food you need, will end up eating the thing they wanted in the first place on top of what they thought they "should" be eating. Bottom line: trust your body! Have what sounds best, and stop when your body tells you it's done. It really does know what it's doing. 4) Check In Before, During, and After Meals Before you start a meal or snack, practice getting both feet firmly planted on the ground, and taking a deep breath. Notice what sensations you have in your belly, and see if you can gauge your hunger on a scale of 1-10. Try to pause half way through the meal, and do the same. Check in with where your body is at -- if you're still hungry, that's your body telling you you need more! If you're not, your body is letting you know it's had enough.* After you are done eating (when your body has let you know it's had enough), check in with your belly again - notice what that feels like; get acquainted with it. ​You are well on your way to being a mindful eater!

*NOTE: This is true for people whose bodies are healthy and stable. If you are not for any reason, including having a recent history of significant dietary restriction, like being in early recovery for an eating disorder, these cues might not be clear or existent, and working with a dietitian one-on-one who can help you set up a meal plan may be helpful.

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