Mindfulness can be understood as bringing your awareness to the present moment without judgment (Mindful, 2020). In the context of eating, noticing our bodily sensations can help us reflect on what foods help us feel (un)nourished or (un)satisfied. In addition, a moment of mindfulness can provide the chance to identify what emotions and sensations we are feeling and the impact it has on our body. Taken together, noticing our bodily sensations and identifying where we sense our feelings can better understand how certain emotions affect eating habits.
Mindfulness can be a helpful tool for those interested in strengthening their relationship with food. For instance, two studies investigated a variety of mindfulness-based programs. Mercado and colleagues (2021) as well as Grohmann and Laws, (2021) studied the effects of participants experiencing Binge Eating Disorder symptoms utilizing mindfulness-based programs as a form of treatment. Both studies found a reduction in participants’ binge eating disorder symptoms, suggesting mindfulness-based programs can aid in treatment for eating disorders. While we do not suggest that observing our emotions and bodily sensations alone can fully reduce eating disorder symptoms, mindfulness can help us understand how our environments and choices impact food-related decisions.
Though the practice of mindfulness can provide helpful information, we must also consider what it is not. Bringing awareness to our body and its sensations is about being present, rather than making a value judgment. These moments of reflections can support the initiation of behavior change. Finally, noticing can be seen as a form of mindfulness that centers on body sensations, feelings, and hunger/fullness cues.
Use this guided meditation prompt to begin your journey of noticing your bodily sensations.
- Pause for a moment.
- Take a minute to scan how your body is feeling, any tightness, any sensations, and/or any needs you have.
- Think about how you are interacting with your environment and how your environment is impacting you.
- Take note of what you need to feel good.
- Decide if you want to see it through or just hold space for it.
- Repeat as necessary.
Grohmann, D., & Laws, K. R. (2021). Two decades of mindfulness-based interventions for binge eating: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 149, 110592.
Mercado, D., Robinson, L., Gordon, G., Werthmann, J., Campbell, I. C., & Schmidt, U. (2021). The outcomes of mindfulness-based interventions for Obesity and Binge Eating Disorder: A meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Appetite, 166, 105464.
Mindful (2020). What is mindfulness?. Mindful. https://www.mindful.org/what-is-mindfulness/
By: Bridgette Agbozo
Bridgette is a 1st year MSW student at the School of Social Work, UNC-Chapel Hill. This is their first year as a research assistant in the Living F.R.E.E. Lab.