What does Mindfulness have to do with eating?

Published : 05/16/2017 15:36:54
Categories : Health , Nutrition

What does mindfulness have to do with eating?

The practice of mindful eating, encourages us to be fully present to what we ingest, which is a skill that can help reduce a variety of 'unhealthy' habits that may be contributing to your digestion problems, mental imbalances, illness and more.

That feeling when you look down and wonder who ate the rest of your cake ‘cause you don't remember doing it? generally implies your mind was distracted by things other than the food you were eating. By not listening and paying attention you likely missed some important signals from your body, like 'I've had enough', or 'actually this isn't what I really need right now'. In addition, whatever stimulus took your attention away from your plate, will have also created stress responses in your body that impede your ability to digest and assimilate that food.

When it comes to digestive issues such as reflux, nausea and constipation, the issue generally doesn’t lie within the stomach, intestines or fat cells, it lies within the mind and the effects it has on the body.

Mindful eating helps us tune into what our body is telling us about satisfaction and hunger, and what is best to nourish it. So how do we learn to slow down and use our concentration to support our body when it comes to fuelling it? Through mindful eating.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is about the art of paying attention. And it is an art. One that takes practice with our fickle minds being so easily distractible. It’s about paying very deliberate attention to what is happening both within your body and around you, without criticism or judgement. It’s not about labelling right or wrong, but about observation and awareness, from a place of curiosity.

What is mindful eating?

Sometimes referred to as “the opposite of diets” mindful eating is the practice of paying FULL attention to the entire experience of eating and drinking. To the first thoughts about it, to the preparation, to consuming and digestion. We pay attention to the feelings that arise within the body, like “where do we feel hunger” and “where do we feel satisfied”. We question “why we want to eat and what the body is truly needing to nourish it”.  

We notice when the mind gets pulled away, and what is pulling it away. Is it the TV or music in the background, is it the newspaper we keep flipping through as we eat. We notice the impulses to get distracted, the anxieties that arise, and we draw ourselves back to just eating.

Setting new Habits

Deep set habits of eating without paying attention are not easy to break. Give yourself time to get there and start with little steps. Set yourself a task, like committing to drinking half your tea without doing anything else, and to really taste and feel every bit of the experience. Or encourage the family meal to be without any technology or reading materials, and even in silence for the first 5 minutes so everyone can really sit and focus.

Remember the process is about enjoyment, rekindling a love for the fuel we are putting into our bodies and reclaiming it from a mechanical automated process. I hope this provides a bit of inspiration to ditch the habits and start listening and responding to your own intuitive body a little more.

Please connect with any feedback or questions you might have. And most importantly, I hope you’re able to enjoy your food and your surroundings, whatever they might be!

With Love,



Annabel Reiter is one half of the team behind Surfcoast Wholefoods. She is also a trained Ayurvedic Diet and Lifestyle Consultant, Yoga Teacher and mother of two, who loves to explore and share practical approaches to ancient wisdom. To get in touch, email

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