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Sometimes I don’t practice mindful eating

We hear so much about mindful eating, and really listening to and connecting with our body. But even for us in the nutrition profession, that can be much harder than it sounds.

I’ll be honest – more than 50% of the time, I’m not practicing mindful eating – I’m just going through the motions of eating leftovers or thinking about future meals I can make with the ingredients I have on-hand.

Or thinking about what’s next on my to-do list. Alternatively, mindful eating incorporates staying in the present and being aware of your emotional and physical state at the moment. It’s something I’m working to improve, especially through eating without distractions and learning to figure out when I’m really hungry versus board, stressed, frustrated, etc. But

I’ll be the first to admit, I am far from 100% perfect.

Here’s yesterday’s break down, for example.

Breakfast – I woke up starving (per usual) and rather than immediately prepare a balanced breakfast, I stuffed down a few energy bites while heating up coffee. Confession: I did this mindlessly while thinking what I would actually have for breakfast (not being present in the moment). I practically don’t even remember eating those energy balls. Hence, using a recycled picture. Woops. #notperfect.

In lieu of eating alllll of the energy bites, I had some plain greek yogurt with blueberries and hemp seeds (forgot to snap a picture), and a rice cake with peanut butter, banana and honey.

At this point, I was already thinking about dinner later in the day (another strike for me for not being in the present).

While I would say I’m pretty good with including ample servings of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats in my meals (habit), I often eat way too fast.

I’m also guilty of eating out of boredom or stress at times, which goes against every grain of mindful eating.  But ya know what? It happens and ya can’t sweat it.

The tips they tell you for mindful eating:

  • eat slowly
  • savor the flavor
  • eat in silence
  • take 28-30 chews per bite.
  • drink water and wait 15 minutes to see if you’re still hungry.
  • go for a walk and divert your attention – see if you’re still really hungry then……..

I often share these tips with people asking for advice. But the truth is, no one is perfect and even the most passionate healthy-driven people aren’t perfect every single time. We’re not “less healthy” for these instances, you guys – sometimes, we just need to eat what’s available at the time and get on with our day.

I’ll be the first to admit I love food and I could argue that food is my life, but we aren’t eating, chewing and digesting every single minute of the day. Every single experience with food doesn’t have to be nurturing. Food = energy, and sometimes that’s just what we need.

Lunch – I helped out at a fancy lunch event at the Ritz. I didn’t bring a snack or lunch so obviously, 4 hours later, I was hangry (#notprepared).

I was ready to eat whatever they were serving, healthy or not. I’m not convinced that would have been mindful eating but is it worth stressing about?

No. They served a nice, juicy piece of meat over mashed potatoes with some loner vegetables, and a buttered croissant on the side. Ate it all, and in that moment, it was just what I needed.


When I got home, I was debating either taking a nap or doing some work. I really didn’t want to do work and was procrastinating it. I thought, “Why don’t I have a snack?”

I wasn’t really hungry, but moreso, felt the need to eat because I was walking by the kitchen. I soon found myself snacking away.

I had a bowl of Chocolate chex cereal (you must try!) with a couple pieces of chocolate peanut butter brownie/fudge. Apparently, chocolate was the answer to my boredom and procrastination.

chocolate chex

It’s seriously one of my favorite weeks here in Charlotte – Restaurant Week! A great chance to try one of many new restaurants on my bucket list.

We went to Copper, a popular place for some of Charlotte’s best Indian cuisine. My three-course dinner included  cabbage-asparagus-black bean “chickpea” patties, a scallop “caldin” in coconut sauce with rice, and some sort of dessert that seemed like a mixture between ice cream and sorbet.

Was I even hungry for this dessert? No – I was actually pretty stuffed. But I still ate it…because it was restaurant week, because I was in a non-stressful, comfortable environment with the hubs, and at that moment, I wanted it. And because it’s hard to say no to dessert.

It’s okay to relieve the pressure of food sometimes. Because the company and memories are worth the feelings of extra fullness.

Every single thing you put in your mouth doesn’t have to be super mindful.  In fact, I think, sometimes mindful eating isn’t mindful at all.

Do you practice mindful eating? What works for you?

Can you say no to dessert?

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  1. sadly i feel like i ate, sometimes do still, eat like that a lot. working on it.

    on another note, i want to go to that indian restaurant!! i’ve been to one upscale/fancy indian restaurant, but it was traditional/north indian. Copper seems a bit more fusion like and inventive 🙂

  2. If I’m at a good restaurant I usually get dessert. And I am not good at all at mindful eating. My brain moves so fast and I am always thinking about something, so while I am eating I am usually multitasking or thinking about the next thing i will do. It’s definitely something I need to work on!

  3. I’m not proud to admit that a few days ago for dinner, I was SO hungry by 4pm that I ended up eating before the hubby even got home from work. I had 3 pieces of bacon, a clementine, 2 bowls of cereal, and bunch of cashews, haha. I try to practice mindful eating but sometimes these things just happen!

  4. I love your perspective on this. I think we tend to overthink being mindful and then we aren’t being mindful at all! Ironic but true.

  5. I’m guilty of often eating way too fast, too. I’m convinced it’s because I don’t like when my foo gets cold but I do it with other kinds of food, too, so that excuse may not work haha. Working on that, and eating more mindful in general!

  6. Chocolate Chex is my jam. I LOVE that stuff.

    I appreciate the concept of mindful eating, but it’s just not always practical. I shop days in advance of when I may eat my food & prepare far in advance as well to be able to take breakfast, lunch & snacks to work. So, while I appreciate the concept it’s hard to practice most days.

  7. Mindful eating is so important! Most of the time I feel bloated, gassy, uncomfortable after eating isn’t because I ate something bad- it’s more that I shoved it into my mouth in 2 seconds. Slowing down and enjoying every bit is the best way to eat 🙂

  8. I’ve just made energy balls recently and they were gone before I knew it. While healthy, they are easy to eat without thinking about it. Bad but so good!

  9. Mindful eating just sounds like too much work for me. Especially now, when I’m chasing around a toddler, I have approximately 3.2 seconds to shove food in my face before he .a. gets into trouble or b. realizes I’m eating and wants it for himself. There is no 30 slow chews in this house ahhahan But your fancy pants lunch looks so tasty!!

  10. Ahhh I think this post is so important! I’m all about aiming for mindful eating, but like you, I think it’s easy to almost start obsessing about it and having it become an added stress in our lives, which is totally counter-productive. So I do my best, and in the times that I realize my eating was rushed and mindless, I move on and try to be graceful with myself. Restaurant weeks are so much fun – enjoy if you make it out to others!! P.s. That afternoon snack looks like heaven.

  11. Um, yes. After years of having to ignore my body’s cues because I needed extra calories, I have pretty much shoved mindful eating to the curb! But this time off during injury has helped me work on it a bit.

    1. I am in the same boat. I need to be mindful but more about making sure I am eating enough. With a goal of 3000 calories a day I often find myself falling short because I am not mindful enough and just run out of time. Working in the restaurant industry doesn’t make it easy to set aside 20 minutes to get the necessary fuel at the right times. Even when working late I know that packing in a 1000 calories at midnight isn’t good even though I have 3 hours of work left.

      1. A varied inconsistent schedule definitely makes things challenging! You may find that sometimes larger meals work when you have the time, but other times lots of portable snacks may be your best friend!

  12. This is so refreshing. I found myself saying “thank you…” at about every second sentence. Of course we all do these things. Mindful eating is a wonderful concept and tool to work towards – especially if needing to heal a relationship with food – but like you said, sometimes (more often than not) food is just energy. An experience and something for our taste buds. I’m trying to be more mindful, mostly due to the fact that I often finish a meal (also guilty of eating way too fast, not to mention with my laptop) and can’t even remember how it tasted. Not good when wanting to then remake or alter recipe. For this I get mad at myself but am slowly trying to be more conscience of it.

  13. Yep. Guilty. I always eat my breakfast and usually my lunch at the computer. It’s relaxing for me. I should probably experiment and see if not doing that would help me not be hungry 2.5 hours later (doubt it).
    Some of those tips are definitely good and theory and I would probably benefit from trying them. Maybe I will focus on one a week?
    That dinner looks really good- I pretty much always eat past fullness in those situations, but hey, it’s part of the experience.