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Mindful eating: Introduction

Watch Melissa and lead educator for Monash University's 'Mindfulness and Wellbeing and Peak Performance', Richard Chambers introduce 'mindful eating'.
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MELISSA ADAMSKI: Hi everyone. I’m here with Richard. He’s a clinical psychologist from our Mindfulness suite of online courses here at Monash University. And he’s here today to talk to us about mindfulness and mindful eating. So Richard, can you tell me more about what mindfulness is?
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RICHARD CHAMBERS: Sure. Mindfulness is about paying attention to what we’re doing, and being fully engaged, present, and aware in each moment.
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MELISSA ADAMSKI: And this is a very important aspect when we’re talking about food as medicine. So while some of you might be wondering why we’re talking about mindfulness in our Food as Medicine course, we need to think about how mindfulness plays a large role in determining what we actually put into our bodies. So if you’re someone who’s looking to use foods to change a health outcome in prevention or in treatment, you can use mindfulness or mindful eating alongside of the knowledge around nutrients and their effect on health. And bringing it all together, to determine a dietary pattern that’s right for you. And that’s going to last over the long term.
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RICHARD CHAMBERS: Research shows that we spend at least half the time that we’re awake not paying attention to what we’re doing. So we get caught up in stressful thoughts. Or perhaps we’re just reducing our productivity by not paying attention. So mindfulness offers us an opportunity to actually learn to pay attention, engage our attention in the senses, and ultimately to become more engaged and aware in each moment.
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MELISSA ADAMSKI: And we can apply that to eating, Richard. And this is the concept called mindful eating. Most people, when they go to eat, they’re governed by some sort of rule, or some piece of information that they’ve learned. Maybe some past diet they’ve been on, or something their friend’s trying at the moment. Not necessarily listening to their own bodies, and their body cues, what cravings they might have, or what actually works with their own lifestyle. RICHARD CHAMBERS Eating’s one of the things that a lot of us do very unmindfully, right? Whether it’s because we’re distracted, perhaps eating in front of a screen or while we’re doing something else.
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And if we’re not paying attention when we’re eating, that’s going to make it very hard to eat in a healthy way, isn’t it?
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MELISSA ADAMSKI: Absolutely.
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RICAHRD CHAMBERS: Perhaps eating too much because we’re not listening to the body and noticing those feelings of fullness or satiety, I think that’s called.
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MELISSA ADAMSKI: And with that comes a lot of the health costs around the burden of disease. The chronic disease, the most driven a lot of the time by a sedentary lifestyle and eating. Eating too much of the wrong sorts of foods.
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RICHARD CHAMBERS: Yeah, not noticing the kinds of foods that our body really wants to eat. Plus, we just eat what’s in front of us, or what we think is a good thing to eat, rather than actually listening to the body.
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MELISSA ADAMSKI: Mindful eating is applying mindfulness to the way that we eat, Understanding some of the behaviours of why we eat, and why we choose the foods that we do.
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RICHARD CHAMBERS: To bring more mindfulness into your eating, you might just start by paying attention more to your body, tuning into the signals that it’s giving you, noticing if you’re actually hungry Or if perhaps you’re eating because you’re stressed or emotional. And then when we’re eating, to actually bring our full attention to the meal. Ditch the screens. Don’t do other things, and to fully taste and enjoy each mouthful of food.
Watch Melissa and lead educator for Monash University’s ‘Mindfulness and Wellbeing and Peak Performance’, Richard Chambers introduce ‘mindful eating’, where the application of mindfulness can help you to better engage with the experience of eating food.

Learn more about mindfulness

Learn mindfulness techniques to reduce stress and improve your wellbeing and work/study performance in Monash University’s Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance course on FutureLearn.
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Food as Medicine

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