Motivation and emotion/Book/2020/Mindful eating
What is mindful eating and what effect does it have on emotion and health?
Overview[edit | edit source]
Awareness of mindful eating is beneficial for society because it assists in the creation and maintenance of a healthy relationship with food intake. The purpose of mindful eating is to encourage individuals in enjoying food and to commit their full presence to their eating experiences (Nelson, 2017). This promotes the opportunity to build recognition of the emotional and physical sensations associated with food. This leads to the successful prevention of health issues such as eating disorders. Mindfulness based programs such as mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness-based cognitive theory assist mindful eating. This is because the essential characteristics of these programs provide society with clear guidance to practice mindful eating (Crane et al., 2016). The use of training within these programs support those in managing a better self-regulation on food intake and to engage themselves further in effective mindful eating meditations (Crane et al., 2016). This is to develop a better understanding on why mindful eating should be encountered in every day living. Mindful eating effects emotion and health because learning how to consciously consume a healthy amount of food benefits people's self-esteem levels (Kristeller & Lieberstein, 2016). This helps emotion and health because people are motivated to work towards their optimum mental and physical health, providing them with satisfaction. Figure 1 represents a healthy and loving emotion towards all foods, portraying that individuals can learn to acquire and maintain a good relationship with food groups.
Mindful eating case study
Natalie Caine-Bish (2014) conducted a study on university students to test if mindful eating had an impact on their nutrients intake through the amount of snacks eaten during a movie. 28 students were recruited by flyers seen on campus and were put into either the control or treatment group. The treatment group received information about mindful eating, where as the control group were not briefed with mindful eating principles. Even though the treatment group were aware of mindful eating principles, both groups were deceived from the real purpose of the study, which was to conclude if their nutrients intake and health was related to mindful eating. Both groups were offered snacks and beverages during a film, and researchers studied the consumption of snacks and drinks from each group. Results showed that the control group consumed more calories, saturated fats and carbohydrates than the treatment group. This proves how mindful eating impacts portion control and acknowledgement of their food intake because of the useful principles provides information that is beneficial to their well-being and growth.
What is mindful eating?[edit | edit source]
Mindful eating signifies the non-judgemental awareness of the individual's consciousness with food in the present environment (Framson et al., 2009). This is because it focuses on mindfulness, which is being aware and having a detailed perception to assist individuals to cope with their emotions and physical sensations without judgements (Nelson, 2017).As shown in figure 2, the woman is eating donuts, representing the consumption of food. Mindful eating is also a technique to help individuals gain control over their eating habits, which can help recognise eating disorders, weight loss or gain and binge eating (Bjarnadottir, 2019). This depicts how mindful eating is crucial because the technique provides people with correct information to maintain physical and mental health. Mindful eating has the potential to address and help severe eating disorders and problematic habits (Warren et al., 2017). This represents how implementing mindful eating can positively influence individuals to come to peace with their eating style and alter negative habits to help their lifestyle. Mindful eating is an effective technique to help reduce overeating because it heightens the senses and cognitive awareness of eating in individuals (Engstrom, 2007). This is accomplished by firstly acknowledging if eating is a task, habit or experience, whether hunger is present, the type of food wanted, how it tastes and the texture of the food (Engstrom, 2007). This can identify why overeating occurs, as individuals can become aware of why they are eating too frequently (Engstrom, 2007). The constant eating leads to overconsumption of calories, leading to physical health issues such as obesity and/or mental issues (Engstrom, 2007). Hence the importance of mindful eating because it helps people stay on track of their eating habits and take control of their lifestyle. Figure 3 demonstrates a visual representation of thinking about mindful eating and the thought processes with different food groups.
Mindless eating vs. mindful eating (Segal et al., 2020)
|Mindless eating||Mindful eating|
|Eating to fill an empty emotional void because an individual is sad, lonely or bored||Only eating because the body is physically hungry|
|Eating food as fast as possible||Eating slowly, enjoying every bite in the present moment|
|Eating while multitasking e.g. eating while watching television||Focusing attention only on eating, being consciously aware of every mouthful|
|Eating all the food until it is all gone e.g. finishing a bag of chips even if an individual is full||Listening to the body signals to stop eating when the person is actually full|
|Eating junk food or unhealthy food||Eating nutritional meals that benefit and satisfy the body|
According to Bjarnadottir (2019), mindful eating involves:
- slowly eating without distractions
- appreciating the food that will be eaten
- distinguishing between being actually hungry and wanting to eat for other reasons
- listening to physical hunger cues and eating until full
Mindful eating techniques[edit | edit source]
Portioning[edit | edit source]
The Sunshine Coast Dietetics (2017) believe portioning the food that will be consumed allows individuals to finish their smaller meal and evaluate their hunger levels after consumption. This gives the individual an opportunity to decide if they are still hungry or not.
Sitting while eating[edit | edit source]
Sitting down encourages individuals to eat slowly and appreciate the food they are eating (Sunshine Coast Dietetics, 2017). This allows for mindful eating because individuals can enjoy their food and can take their time. As shown in figure 4, the family is sitting down while eating, providing no distractions and room for mindful eating.
No technology while eating[edit | edit source]
Phones, television etc. provides distractions for individuals, which can harm their eating habits because people are unaware of the amount of food they are consuming (Sunshine Coast Dietetics, 2017).
Reflect[edit | edit source]
Reflecting is essential because it allows the individual to evaluate themselves before eating (Armand, 2015). This enables an opportunity to recognise if they are bored, stressed etc. as well as their intentions for eating.
How does mindful eating effect emotions?[edit | edit source]
Mindful eating positively effects emotion because it assist individuals to be consciously aware of their food intake. The knowledge of what food they are eating and the quantity of food can satisfy the individual, boosting their emotions. Gizem Köse (2020) argues that mindful eating benefits emotion because the eating strategies provided allow individuals to feel accomplished. Similarly, mindful eating has demonstrated that it is effective when trying to reduce overeating. Techniques for mindful eating e.g. meditation can reduce compulsive eating habits (Moor et al., 2013), leading to a decline in depression. This is because the mental awareness of mindful eating allows individuals to feel inspired, boosting their emotions. Mindfulness approaches help address the emotional effects of mindful eating. This is through the modification of emotional regulation in relation to the techniques used to help individuals have a conscious food intake (Lattimore, 2019). This demonstrates how introducing mindful eating techniques has the ability to decrease the psychological mindset towards food that undermines food intake, significantly benefiting emotion. Mindful eating enhances weight loss (Bjarnadottir, 2019), which can effect emotions because the weight transformation encourages people to continue mindful eating.
Individuals with poor eating habits as well as negative mindsets represent a dysfunctional emotional regulation because of their inability to control food consumption (Czepczor-Bernat et al., 2019). Those with bad restrictive eating behaviours can lead to serious health issues such as obesity, which reinforce individuals to create a bad head space (Czepczor-Bernat et al., 2019). Therefore, mindful eating can poorly effect emotions if individuals do not feel that they are in control of their eating habits. Impulsive eating leads to the rapid consumption of food intake (Köse, 2020), which can emotionally degrade an individual who is unable to manage their intake. Thus, depicting the effects mindful eating has on emotion because it can deeply effect people without the correct guidance, making people feel degraded if they are unable to control their food consumption. Hence, the importance of mindful eating.
Jean L. Kristeller & Andrea E. Lieberstein (2016) believe that mindful eating promotes self-love and compassion, as this technique enable individuals to increase awareness of physical hunger. This beneficially effects emotion because people are learning the differences between physical hunger and emotional hunger, bringing happiness to individuals when they are able to differentiate between the two (Kristeller & Lieberstein, 2016). The weight management in mindful eating effect emotions significantly because the flexibility provides numerous ways for people to successfully manage their food consumption (Kristeller & Lieberstein, 2016). Mindful eating advocates a positive outlook towards food to enhance a motivational eating mechanism (Dijker, 2019). This effects emotion because it encourages people to use mindful eating to benefit their eating habits. This positive perspective supports that mindful eating does not necessarily give up the pleasure of eating, but assists in monitoring a healthy eating schedule that benefits the physical and mental health of individuals (Dijker, 2019). This enhances emotions because it reminds individuals that eating is a healthy and essential bodily function that needs to be under control in order for sufficient eating.
Case study on the emotional effects mindful eating has on fixing unhealthy eating behaviours
Ignacio de Tomas et al. (2020) investigated if mindful eating would benefit emotions in children who have bad eating behaviours. The children were between 8 to 11 years old and split into two groups. Group 1 watched a program on the benefits of mindful eating where as group 2 commenced an unrelated workshop. The two groups were then offered snacks. Group 1 demonstrated a more positive attitude towards the food intake as well as signs of happier emotions due to their understanding of mindful eating, where as group 2 showed no signs of emotional regulation. Thus, showing how mindful eating effects emotions because the knowledge provided can help individuals control their food consumption, benefiting their emotional well-being.
What causes emotional eating?[edit | edit source]
Timothy J. Legg (2018) describes emotional eating as the result of negative emotions that leads to an empty void. Food is the substitute of the void, allowing individuals to fill their emotional emptiness with the fullness of food. Figure 6 represents a women emotional eating while in a fragile state of mind.
Factors of emotional eating include (Legg, 2018):
- inability to differentiate between emotional and physical hunger
- not engaging in activities that relieve stress or sadness
- using negative self talking, creating a cycle of negative emotions
Mini quiz[edit | edit source]
Select the correct answer and press "submit"|
Theories on mindful eating[edit | edit source]
Mindfulness to meaning theory (MMT)[edit | edit source]
Mindful-to-meaning theory (MMT) focuses on the positive emotional regulation mindful eating has on individuals. This enhances cognitive functions for individuals to maintain a healthy relationship with food intake in present moment (Garland et al., 2015). This theory imposes a non-judgemental model, that promotes a broaden awareness of food consumption (Garland et al., 2017). MMT is beneficial for advertising mindful eating because individuals are taught to control their eating habits through the stimulation of positive mindfulness training (Garland et al., 2017). This shows how individuals are able to eat and be in present moment with their food experience. Eric Garland et al., (2017) argue that MMT provides success long term effects because mindfulness puts individuals in a safe head space for successful psychological processes. This theory strengthens the cognitive abilities within individuals to become more aware and accept savouring their eating experiences (Garland et al., 2015). Thus, strengthening the relationship individuals have with food intake.
Commitment and acceptance therapy (ACT)[edit | edit source]
This psychotherapy intervention focuses on using acceptance and mindfulness strategies to strengthen individual's mindsets to change their overall behaviours (Hayes et al., 2004). Commitment and acceptance therapy (ACT) can promote mindful eating because certain factors mindful eating arises can be easily manipulated in the external environment (Ciarrochi et al., 2010). Focusing on tackling behavioural issues can benefit mindful eating because individuals are confronted with present day issues and learn to deal with it effectively. ACT invite individuals to discuss their issues with food consumption and are taught how to overcome their personal struggle with food intake through cognitive behavioural techniques (Ciarrochi et al., 2010). ACT can assist with weight maintenance because the intervention allows individuals to acknowledge their health issues and corporate mindful eating throughout (Forman & Butryn, 2015). Skills such as tolerating reduction in comfort can shape an individual because they are confronted with their food consumption struggles (Forman & Butryn, 2015). Individuals consciously aware of potential weight gain issues can motivate them to include mindful eating, as ACT has assisted in their recognition of issues with food intake (Forman & Butryn, 2015). This illustrates how this therapy can benefit people because they are accepting their issues with food and are encouraged to work towards changing their negative mindset to better themselves. The ability to understand their own issues can motivate people to stop hiding from themselves and deal with the current problems, hence why ACT is an acceptable therapy. Dealing with issues in the present day has a long-term effect on individuals because they are learning to deal with current emotions and respond to internal cues instantly (Forman & Butryn, 2015). This provides the support and guidance needed for potential future negative outbreaks individuals could acquire.
Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT)[edit | edit source]
Nancy Schimelpfenig (2020) describes dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) as teaching individuals to develop a healthy mindset to cope with stress as well as regulating negative emotions. This therapy promotes mindful eating because DBT assists those struggling with emotional regulation (Schimelpfening, 2020). DBT is a flexible treatment because individuals can be in multiple environments for effective results (Groves et al., 2011), representing how this therapy can enhance mindful eating because of the wide availability of resources provided. An important factor of DBT include identifying individual's strengths in order to build upon them to overcome their personal struggles (Grohol, 2020). Similarly, DBT assists in altering people's assumptions and beliefs about themselves that encourage a negative mindset (Grohol, 2020). Thus, proving how DBT motivates mindful eating because people are learning how to challenge their negative relationship with food and are able to control themselves in order to benefit their physical and mental health. Mindfulness is an important skill learnt during DBT because of the non-judgemental qualities (Grohol, 2020). By altering and perfecting behaviour through this therapy, it provide individuals with the skills to efficiently deal with future issues about food consumption (Health Direct, 2020). This helps gain control over their behaviour in order for individuals to use mindful eating. Therefore, including mindfulness within DBT provides opportunities to observe current situations to self-evaluate for their optimum outcome (Health Direct, 2020). Figure 7 demonstrates an individual who is including a variety of food groups mindfully, helping them acknowledge and accept all food groups.
What effect does mindful eating have on health?[edit | edit source]
Health is seen as the state of complete mental, spiritual, social and physical well-being of an individual (Kumar & Kumar, 2014). It is a concept that depicts personal, social and physical resources that benefits oneself (Kumar & Kumar, 2014). Mindful eating effects health because the ability to control food consumption can beneficially improve an individual's physical health (Godman, 2019). Mindful eating helps with physical health factors such as weight loss and cortisol levels (Godman, 2019), which can beneficially effect an individual's health. Mindful eating promotes mental health because individuals are taught how to maintain a clear headspace during their eating schedule to assist in enjoying food (Godman, 2019).
Effects on mental health?[edit | edit source]
Mental health is defined as an individual's depth of psychological well-being that depends on the functioning of their emotional and behavioural levels (MacDonald, 2006). Mindful eating effects mental health because the satisfaction of controlling mindful eating provides individuals to feel good about themselves (Khan & Zadeh, 2014). This positive mind set benefits mental health because it motivates people to continue mindful eating, as their mindset is clear and has the ability of high awareness (Khan & Zadeh, 2014). A healthy mental health is essential to have under control in order for an accurate thinking pathway, as it shapes the individual in making the best decisions for themselves (Andrews & Wan, 2009). Therefore, mindful eating benefits mental health because it directs individuals in learning the best eating schedule for them that will maintain a better mental health (Taylor et al., 2015). Figure 8 illustrates a woman during meditation, successfully restraining from unhealthy foods. The meditation shows the mental health side of her mindful eating. Mindful eating reduces mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety because the ability to successfully control one's eating tendencies motivates individuals to maintain mindful eating (Miller et al., 2013). This sparks joy in people because it proves to them that they are capable of maintaining a healthy aspect in their daily life through good mental health.
Effects on physical health?[edit | edit source]
The Department of Health (2006) describes physical health as the balance of nutrition and physical activity to keep the body in optimum condition. Mindful eating benefits physical health because of the maladaptive dietary restraint proposed in order to have a healthy weight (Anderson et al., 2016). This effects physical health because the resources provided by mindful eating help individuals have a consistent eating schedule, preventing weight gains or losses. Mindful eating decreases the chances of overeating through various techniques for individuals to follow while consuming food (Engstrom, 2007). Therefore, being able to control the food intake will maintain a healthy weight for the individual and prevent health issues such as obesity. Additionally, the minimisation of junk food and sugary treats effect physical health because it can prevent health diseases such as cardiovascular disease (Mantzios et al., 2018). Hence, showing a longer life due to optimum physical health.
Conclusion[edit | edit source]
Mindful eating depicts the non judgemental consumption of food in order for individuals to be aware of their daily food intake. This benefits the mental well being of individuals because the emotional regulation and control of food consumption motivates individuals to maintain a clear mindset for optimum functioning. Similarly, mindful eating benefits the physical health because the recognition of physical hunger vs. alternative hunger allows individuals to be aware in order to prevent future health issues. The practice of mindful eating provides a better future for individuals because the skills learnt can be used for various situations. The psychological theories presented demonstrate how mindfulness as well as behavioural changes are essential in successful mindful eating. This is because the ability to block out self-hate and judgements enhance eating experiences for society, which provides acceptable mindful eating. Future research is needed because researchers must provide further information on how mindfulness works for varying cultures. Numerous cultures do not identify mental health as an issue, therefore how can those individuals practice successful mindful eating without their optimum health level. Ultimately, mindful eating provide results that represent good emotional and health changes. This should motivate society to practice mindful eating as a means to achieve better personal health and subsequently an overall better quality of life.
See also[edit | edit source]
Intuitive eating - book chapter 2020
Food and fear - book chapter 2019
Eating and emotion - book chapter 2011
Self regulation of overeating - book chapter 2011
References[edit | edit source]
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