Eating is a natural, healthy, and pleasurable activity for satisfying hunger. However, in our food-abundant, diet-obsessed culture, eating is often mindless, consuming, and guilt-inducing instead. Mindful eating is an ancient mindfulness practice with profound modern implications and applications for resolving this troubled love-hate relationship with food.
So, what is mindful eating?
Mindful eating is eating with intention and attention:
- Eating with the intention of caring for yourself
- Eating with the attention necessary for noticing and enjoying your food and its effects on your body
As you can see, mindful eating is much more than “eating slowly, without distraction.” While that’s certainly an important part of it, at Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating Programs and Training, we believe that mindful eating encompasses the entire process of eating:
- Awareness of your physical and emotional cues
- Recognition of your non-hunger triggers for eating
- Learning to meet your other needs in more effective ways than eating
- Choosing food for both enjoyment and nourishment
- Eating for optimal satisfaction and satiety
- Using the fuel you’ve consumed to live the vibrant life you crave
This broad application makes mindful eating a powerful tool for developing a more balanced, joyful relationship with food.
How does mindful eating help solve eating issues?
Many people who struggle with food react mindlessly to their unrecognized or unexamined triggers, thoughts, and feelings. In other words, they re-act-repeating past actions again and again, feeling powerless to change.
Mindfulness increases your awareness of these patterns without judgment and creates space between your triggers and your actions.
For example, whenever you notice that you feel like eating and pause to ask the question, “Am I hungry?“, you’re able to observe your thoughts and choose how you will respond. Instead of reacting mindlessly, mindfulness gives you response-ability. That’s how mindful eating empowers you to finally break old automatic or habitual chain reactions and discover options that work better for you.
How is Am I Hungry? different?
There are a lot of intuitive and mindful eating programs out there these days! What makes Am I Hungry? different is the Mindful Eating Cycle. It is a simple model developed by founder Michelle May MD, to help you become aware and in charge of the hundreds of eating decisions you make every day.
Although it’s deceptively simple, the question “Am I hungry?” opens the door to understanding why, when, what, how, and how much you eat, and where you invest your energy.
Replace restrictive eating plans with intuitive decision-making
Is it really possible to live the big, vibrant life you crave? Yes! You can learn to eat what you love and love what you eat.
The Mindful Eating Cycle is a simple model to increase your awareness of the hundred of eating decisions you make every day.
Instead of following restrictive eating plans that aren’t sustainable (and therefore don’t work), the Mindful Eating Cycle prompts you to ask questions to tune in to your physical sensations, thoughts, and feelings to help you respond and meet your needs.
The Mindful Eating Cycle consists of the following six questions:
Why do I eat? What is driving my eating cycle at any given time?
When do I feel like eating? When do I think about food? When do I decide to eat?
What do I eat? What do I choose from all the available options?
How do I eat? Specifically, how do I get the food I’ve chosen into my body?
How much do I eat? In other words, when do I stop?
Where do I invest the energy I’ve consumed? Do I use it to practice self- care for my body, mind, heart, and spirit?
Next Steps on your mindful eating journey!
Learn more about yourself.
Understanding your personal eating patterns is a powerful first step toward meaningful transformation. Take our free Eating Cycle Assessment.
Download chapter 1 FREE.
The first chapter of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat will introduce you to the Mindful Eating Cycle and the four common patterns of eating: Instinctive eating, overeating, restrictive eating, and the eat-repent-repeat cycle. Download chapter 1 here.
Learn about the programs Am I Hungry? offers.
We offer mindful eating programs designed specifically for different eating challenges. Find the Am I Hungry? program that’s right for you.
If you are a health professional, train with us!
We offer training for health and wellness professionals who want to help their clients or patients develop a healthy relationship with food. Train with us!
Find more mindful eating resources
We have many other resources for individuals and health professionals. Check out our free mindful eating resources!