We can all recognize the difference between healthy foods and most unhealthy ones. So why do we eat the unhealthy ones? “They taste good” seems like a pretty simple reason, but there are others too, ones that can be even unconsciously affecting why you’re eating.  It may not be because you’re hungry, but because you’re bored or upset. Social factors also affect our eating patterns. Yes, like “social drinking,” “social eating” is definitely a real thing!

Psychology Doctorate Jean Kristeller’s research focuses on food intake regulation and eating disorders. “We all develop a lot of automatic patterns around eating,” she says. These can even be something as simple as eating all the food on our plate. Sometimes we’re not even aware of these patterns, but other times we’re too aware of them and punish ourselves for not eating “right.” Mindful eating is about discovering the relationship between food and your body, and learning about yourself without judgment.

Slowing down is a big part of learning to eat mindfully. This starts from something as simply as paying attention to the appearance of our food. Make it colorful, pleasant to look at. Breathe deeply and contemplate your food. Buying from a local farmers market where you can meet face-to-face with the person who grew your food can help you envision the whole process of food, from growing to harvesting to preparation. Don’t multitask while you eat. Turn the TV off; put the smartphone away. If we’re eating because it “tastes good,” we should at least respect ourselves and our food and take the time to enjoy that taste!

If emotional overeating is a problem for you, you can try keeping a food diary. When you hold yourself accountable., you’ll stop finding excuses for why you ate what you did. No one wants to record that they consumed a whole block of cheese or a whole pint of ice cream!  Writing down reasons why you were eating at that particular time can be helpful in finding other ways to address these needs you’re currently solving with food.

Read the entire article here: Mindful eating: Peaceful coexistence with food