As a registered dietitian and health coach for Kaiser Permanente San Francisco, I make it a priority to talk to my patients and clients about mindful eating, which can be a helpful tool in moving toward a healthier diet. The key to mindful eating, also called intuitive eating, is slowing down and making the connection with your food – who grew it and prepared it, and how you’re nourished by it.
Also called intuitive eating, this strategy is often overlooked when addressing weight loss and can be the catalyst for breaking a weight plateau. But weight loss is not the only reason to eat mindfully; there are many other health and mental health benefits as well. Mindful eating helps digestion, eases stress, and creates better connections to our community.
Most of us eat with distractions, which keep us from focusing on the pleasures of our food. These suggestions from author Geneen Roth can help you avoid distracted and emotional eating.
Another important tool that can help you learn to eat more intuitively is the hunger and satiety scale. Learning to think about eating in terms of hunger and satiety cues can be a big eye-opener. Rather than banishing certain foods you love because they’re unhealthy, try satisfying your cravings by eating small amounts (including occasional treats) and enjoying them fully.
I often suggest to clients that they begin keeping a journal tracking hunger, satiety and daily food intake. Doing this for a few days can be extremely useful in helping you recognize patterns and avoid unhealthy choices.
I am always happy to work with clients on a personal health coaching program. And if you’re interested in exploring this topic in more depth, see these 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating, which can help you avoid emotional eating and other pitfalls.