Mindful Eating

Article by Vali Hawkins Mitchell, Ph.D., LMHC, REAT, CEAP

Mindfulness Simply Means Paying Attention.


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1. Always stop first and take a moment to look at your food before you just dive in.
2. You are THERE eating it.
3. Be present and accounted for before you even pick up your fork, spoon, or chopsticks.
4. Check off something on this list once a week to change your “mind."



Make eating fun, get creative.


Find your own voice.


Take slightly smaller portions.


Notice personal food danger zones and danger foods.


Ask for help.


Don’t wait too long to eat and don’t stay hungry.


Ask: Is it cooked in a healthy way?


Don’t feel sorry for the bread, even though it got eaten.


Discover a new recipe.


Share dinners from the middle of the table.


Share a meal with someone.


Ask: Is this my normal and am I happy with it?


Slow down. Take a breath.


Keep going because you can’t nail it 100%, 100% of the time.


Put down the fork between bites.


“No thanks” can be the right answer.


Drink some extra water.


Find support meetings, positive friends.


Remind yourself: feelings aren’t food.


Mark even small accomplishments as victories.


Pay attention gently.


Master your own home, kitchen, refrigerator.


Do excellent self-care.


Say “No” inside the store not after you leave.


Rearrange your meal environment.


Walk away from it and it will still be there for a better time.


Take small steps to your goal.


You are ultimately accountable for your own support.


Change what you are used to.


You are ultimately accountable for your own victory celebration.


Do a micro-size exercise today.


Be willing to live inside the solution.


Create safe spaces to eat.


Don’t panic, call a friend.


Sip on liquids.


Remind yourself: life has its ups and downs, you’ve got this!

  Walk, breathe, feel, be...it’s enough.  

If someone tries to force you to eat, they might be a “Food Terrorist.”

  Do something else.  

Take direct authority of your own life and what you eat and when.

  Avoid distractions and enjoy your food times.  

Repeat to yourself: it isn’t always what you eat, but also where, how, and when you eat.

  Pay attention to be a mindful eater.  

Ask: Are you just eating your feelings instead of dealing with them?

  Ask: What kind of thinking got you here?  

Ask: What are the origins of any eating emergency?

  Keep moving forward without guilt or shame.  

Ask: What would your meal-time look like if it was a movie?

  Make yourself a top priority.  

Ask: Is your stomach 20 minutes ahead or 20 minutes behind your brain?

  Ask: Are you all in? Are you willing?  

Practice elegance and style. Use fancy plates and glasses.

  Ask: Is this what you want to do now?  

Don’t quit now if you missed a turn at mile 98 of a 100 mile trip!

  Gently stop the chain-reaction before a mindless binge.  

Do something you’ve never done to be who you want to be.

  Take a deep breath first, not a sad sigh after you eat.  

Only fall off your healthy food plan for something that is totally unique and fabulous.

  Focus on your progress, not (false) perfection.  

Simply make a course correction if you go a bit off track.

  Ask: What reminds you to be active?  

Take a small portion and enjoy. Unique and fabulous aren’t reasons to eat mindlessly.

  If you go a bit off track simply make a course correction.  

Ask yourself: Were things easier when you ignored your wisdom and ate anyway?

  Ask: Are you willing to challenge yourself?  

You deserve as many second chances as you need.

  Ask: What’s holding you back?  

Ask: What or who do you love more than eating?

  Ask: Was it ever easier to not do what you know is right?  

Beware negative self-talk and listen to different and positive voices only.

  Ask: What or who do you love more than eating?  

Break the chain of your eating habits a little at a time.

  (Add your own Success Tip here)  

(Add your own Success Tip here)



© Vali Hawkins Mitchell, 2020

Vali J. Hawkins Mitchell, Ph.D., LMHC, REAT, CEAP is a co-owner and General Partner at Employee Assistance of the Pacific. She has a Doctorate in Health Education, an M.S. in Applied Psychology, and another M.S. in Expressive Arts Therapy. She is a highly regarded public speaker, trainer, author, consultant, award-winning artist, and well-published author. For more about Dr. Vali’s books, go to www.valihawkinsmitchell.com.

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