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Eating More Mindfully (Part 1): Why Does It Matter?

Written by Pam Connolly, Fitness Instructor + Certified Nutrition Coach

“Many people who struggle with food react mindlessly to their unrecognized or unexamined triggers, thoughts, and feelings.” - Michelle May, author Am I Hungry?

I became interested in nutrition when I wanted to learn more about how I could control and better manage my weight.

My goal was to feel better about myself and be the best athlete and fitness professional I could be.

I've read many books and articles on the subject, teach Nutrition at Loras College, and am a Certified Nutrition Coach.

While out to dinner on a recent vacation to Mexico, I ordered an appetizer, salad, passed on the soup, and what I thought was the entrée.

However, upon completion of the order, the waiter followed with, “and for your main dish?”


I’m already ordering a lot more than the number of courses I make for dinner each night, but I can order MORE?

I declined adding more food to my order until my husband told me to get the filet mignon - for him! Haha!

So many cultures revolve around EATING.

I mean, we MUST eat to survive, right?

We eat to live, we live to eat.

But the rules on what, when, and how much are as endless as they are confusing.

Even once a person decides what, when, and how much to eat, some people are better at controlling it than others. Why?

This led me to dive into some research.

I was amazed with what I read- perspectives I’ve never thought about.

Back in the 1950s, we had more structured family mealtimes and less choices of food to eat, not to mention greater activity levels due to the lifestyles back then.

Today, we spend less time eating at specific mealtimes, have more food choices, and are less active due to technological advances.

We tend to react without taking time to notice what we are eating—repeating past actions again and again— and feel powerless to change.

This is what Michelle May referred to in her quote at the beginning of this blog post when she wrote, “Many people who struggle with food react mindlessly to their unrecognized or unexamined triggers, thoughts, and feelings.”

If you care about feeling more energetic and even maintaining a healthy weight, there’s no better time to be more mindful about our eating than right now!

This is a multifaceted topic, which is why I am so passionate about mindful eating.

Regardless of our health-related goals, we can all learn strategies to be more mindful of what we put into our mouths.

Mindfulness increases your awareness of old eating patterns without judgment.

Being mindful also creates space between your triggers and your actions so you can choose how you respond instead of reacting mindlessly out of habit.

For example, when you notice you feel like eating, I invite you to pause and ask the question, ‘Am I hungry?’.

This allows you to observe your physical sensations, thoughts, and feelings.

In the video below, I'll walk you through how to eat mindfully.

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Mindful Eating Exercise

Keep track of what you eat and when for one week.

Remember to practice non-judgment.

This exercise is just to help you get an idea of your eating patterns.

Don’t worry so much about calories and nutrients, just document the food and drink that you intake.

In the next blog, look for further explanation and strategies on becoming a mindful eater.

Until next time! Thanks for reading!



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