Mindless Eating vs. Mindful Eating
Do you know the difference?
Which do you think best describes your eating habits?
Mindfulness is a familiar word and has become a way of life for many.
The most renowned voice on the subject, Jon Kabat Zinn, describes it as: “Mindfulness is an awareness that arises through paying attention…in the service of self-understanding and wisdom, ”
Time Magazine even published a special edition dedicated to the topic: Time Magazine 2017 Special Edition:: MINDFULNESS the New Science of Health and Happiness.
And yet, applying the principle of mindfulness to eating has not yet taken hold. Far too many continue to be “mindless eaters.”
Which Are You?
Below is a checklist to help you answer that question.
It will only take a minute to go through each list and identify which one describes your eating habits.
Let’s go a little deeper!
Mindless eating occurs when you eat quickly, completely unaware of what you are eating (nor do you care). You shovel it in without thinking about the food, how much you are eating, how it tastes (good or bad), or if it is satisfying your hunger. Maybe eating is nothing more than a necessity for you.
It is often driven by stress or feelings like anger, sadness, loneliness, relationship issues, boredom, frustration, etc. If you find yourself frequently thinking about food or standing in front of the fridge when you are not hungry, you are probably a mindless eater.
To sum it up – you eat without an awareness of when, where, how much, or what you are eating – and it is dangerous for your health.
Even though it is easy to use food as an escape – to unwind and unravel when life throws you curves – it is a dangerous habit that affects your physical and emotional health and can eventually take your life if you are unwilling to change.
You are not the only one facing this challenge.
Mindless eating is common in the U.S. because of the fast-paced, high-stress world we live in. It is easy to go on autopilot living – including eating.
Research shows that you make over 200 food-related choices daily but are unaware of all but 10% to 15% of those choices. Food has become a necessity with little thought given to the flavors, textures, how much you are eating, or even why you are eating.
Research shows that you may have lost the ability to notice and follow signals of hunger and satiety, which causes you to continuously overeat and never feel satisfied.
Mindless eating in the U.S. is driven by an overabundance of food, jumbo-sized orders, oversized dinner plates, binge-eating, the attitude that more is better, etc., which results in weight gain and is the leading cause of obesity in the U.S.
Obesity often leads to high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, and hormonal imbalances.
According to the CDC, obesity is a common, serious, and costly disease.
From 1999–2000 through 2017–2018, the prevalence of obesity increased from 30.5% to 42.4%, and the prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2%.
Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer that are some of the leading causes of preventable, premature death.
You may be considered obese without realizing it – many people are. It’s easy to think that you are just carrying around a few extra pounds.
But, if your BMI is 25 – 29, you are overweight and if it is 30+, you are obese and at risk for all the dangers that carries. Check your BMI here.
It’s Time for a Change!
If you have fallen into the easy trap of mindless eating and the pounds are piling up or have reached a dangerous level, it is time for a change!
A good option to consider is to embrace mindful eating as your new way of life. Slow down, pay attention to what you are eating, choose healthy, nutritious foods, and enjoy every bite. It will make a significant difference in your health – and can add years to your lifespan.