Courtney Kiang, RD, on the Power of Mindful Eating

As a registered dietitian for the Community Nutrition Programs at the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, Courtney Kiang, RD understands the importance of fostering a healthy relationship with food. One concept she emphasizes is mindful eating. Mindful eating is not a diet; it’s a way of approaching food that focuses on being present and fully engaged in the eating experience. By practicing mindful eating, individuals can cultivate a greater awareness of their food choices, hunger cues, and eating habits, ultimately leading to improved overall health and well-being.

Mindful eating is rooted in mindfulness, a practice that involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment. When applied to eating, mindfulness encourages individuals to tune into their bodies and surroundings during meals, rather than eating mindlessly or out of habit. By savoring each bite and paying attention to sensations like taste, texture, and fullness, individuals can develop a deeper appreciation for food and a greater sense of satisfaction from their meals. Courtney states, “Mindful eating is a strategy that does not require counting grams or calories; it offers mental and physical satiety while supporting a positive relationship with food.”

In her nutrition education sessions, Courtney advocates incorporating the five S’s of mindful eating into your daily routine.

SIT DOWN

Have a seat! Avoid nibbling in front of the refrigerator or snacking in your car. Put food on a plate. You will enjoy food more and eat less when you give eating your full attention. “Only eat off your feet.”

SLOW DOWNChopsticks

Eating with your non-dominant hand or chopsticks are ways that can increase eating time. Research indicates that eating with your opposite hand can reduce how much you eat by 30% because it forces the eater to slow down, allowing the body to receive the fullness cue sooner. From start to finish, a meal should take about 20 minutes to eat. “Pace, don’t race.”

SAVOR

Take a mindful bite and use all five senses. Turn off the TV and other distractions including cell phones. “When you eat, just eat.”

SIMPLIFY

Put healthy foods in a convenient place like on the counter or in easily accessible cupboards. Research indicates that people tend to eat what is within their immediate reach. “In sight, in mind, out of sight, out of mind.”

SMILE

Smiling can create a brief pause between your current bite and creating the next one. During that gap, ask yourself if you are just satisfied, not full. “Take a breath, to manage stress.”


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