Every single day we eat and every single one of us eats the amount we do largely because of what is around us. Setting things like emotional and stress eating aside, we often overeat because of family, friends, colors, packaging, plate size, smells, distractions, containers and even the way we set up our kitchen and dining room tables. This list of invisible influences goes on and on.

Invisible? Yes! Most of us are unaware of all of the factors that influence our eating and those that keep us from being in the moment while we eat so that we can pay close attention to how hungry we are, when we get full, what mood we’re in, how good our food tastes and just how much we’ve consumed.

As we all know, increased food consumption typically results in weight gain. If you consume just 3,500 calories, that equals a pound no matter if you consume it all together or over a week. You can revisit my previous blog and learn more about that and the mindless margin. So if increased food consumption often results in weight gain and mindful eating helps us reduce food consumption, wouldn’t that mean that mindful eating can be used for weight loss? Not exactly! 

What Mindful Eating Is

Mindful eating is less about what you eat and more about how you eat it. “Ronald Reagan once said, ‘You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jelly beans’.” Are you one who eats only the flavors you love, eats them all at once or only eats a few and saves the rest? The way you eat them says a lot about the relationship that you have with food. 

Mindful eating encourages us to become fully present with food and aware of our relationship with it. We begin to notice if we hide certain things, like jelly beans, when we eat them, if we wolf food down until our stomach hurts or if we avoid some foods like the plague. The more aware you become of your eating habits, the more likely you are to change them and to accept your body for what it does, especially that it has an inherent ability to guide us. 

Don’t Mix Mindful Eating and Weightloss 

When we mix mindful eating and weight loss, we tend to bring the conflict that we have with food to the surface. We get frustrated because we try to be “mindful” of the carbs we’re eating and don’t lose weight, we try to be “mindful” and drink more water and don’t lose weight. The fact of the matter is, we first have to understand ourselves – heart, mind, body, and spirit. 

We have to be connected with ourselves enough to know that there are several other factors that contribute to weight loss and gain. Mindfulness is a tool used to help enhance that connectivity. It helps us learn to be still in all areas of life. Still enough to hear the small things like birds chirping, to be present with the ones we love, to recognize when we have triggers or glimmers in our day-to-day. The connection in our body is a foundational tool that is needed to be able to recognize when that extra slice of pizza puts us over the edge or all that caffeine in the morning causes us to crash in the afternoon which in turn requires more caffeine. With mindfulness comes awareness and with awareness comes a knowing of yourself that you may have never experienced. 

I invite you to join me to learn more about yourself, mindful eating and how it can help you in all aspects of your life at our July evening retreat. You will find that practicing mindful eating will bring you much more joy and allow you to live a balanced and fulfilled life. 

Today’s author: Casey Clark is a partner coach with Wholistic Woman Coalition. She manages a health and wellness practice, Heaven On Earth, which is a community for those looking to get inspired and give inspiration to anyone on their own health and wellness journey. Having made significant changes to her lifestyle over the past 2 years to live a more holistically fulfilled life, Casey understands the importance of self-care and having a community to get support from. Join the community and get some inspiration or become a guest blogger at www.aheavenlyyou.com.