A Guide to the Art of Mindful Eating by Dr. Prem Jagyasi – The Concept, Case Studies & Evidence, Vital Considerations, and More Interesting Details

A Guide to the Art of Mindful Eating by Dr. Prem Jagyasi –

Before we dive into the guide, I would like to ask you, when was the last time you really enjoyed having a meal? Do you remember every dish you had on that plate? Did you overeat or were you satisfied when you were full?

This guide is wholly dedicated to enhancing the eating experience with mindful eating practices. It also addresses negative relationships with foods, binge eating, overeating issues, bad food choices, etc. Let’s get into the details to eat more mindfully.

A Guide to the Art of Mindful Eating by Dr. Prem Jagyasi – The Concept, Case Studies & Evidence, Vital Considerations, and More Interesting Details

The Concept of Mindful Eating


The term ‘Mindfulness’ is a widely known practice, which has a more profound meaning when understood and practiced correctly. The concept of mindfulness became popular because of its positive effects that encourage us to be consciously aware of whatever our attention is directed towards. Likewise, the concept of Mindful Eating encourages an individual to be more mindful and conscious while eating.

Mindful Eating is a process-oriented behavior, rather than outcome-driven behavior. It is an approach towards food that focuses on making an individual aware of their senses while eating and experiencing the food bite by bite. The purpose here is to encourage your full presence while eating, make wise choices of what to eat and how much to eat, and savor the moment of the complete eating experience.

How Does Mindful Eating Work?

Cute joyful couple cooking together and adding spice to meal, laughing and spending time together in the kitchen

Mindful Eating works by incorporating certain mindful techniques while eating. It involves body-related sensations, heightened awareness, no judgments, and understanding of feelings and thoughts related to food. During this practice, attention is directed toward the chosen food, its physical cues, and your responses to it.

Here are some Mindful Eating techniques that can help you:

  • Considering a wider spectrum of your meal – where it came from and how was the food prepared.
  • Notice its internal and external cues – how do you feel when you see it and what cues affect how much you want to eat.
  • Notice the appearance, taste, smell, and feeling experienced while you eat.
  • Acknowledging how your body feels after finishing the meal.
  • Expressing gratitude towards the meal.
  • Understanding how your food choice reflects on the local and global environment.

Case Studies & Evidence

Woman with healthy sandwich

Mind Eating has been under research for the depth-understanding of its effects, direct benefits, potential pitfalls, potential long-term benefits, considerations, etc. Some of the case studies and evidence mentioned below showcase different areas where Mindful Eating is tested and researched.

·        Mindful Eating for Weight Loss

healthy eating for weight lossMindful Eating is often linked to and assumed to be an effective practice for weight loss. However, it is not exactly true. Mindful eating may not be directly beneficial for those seeking weight loss, but it can be used as a regular practice for controlling aspects that result in weight gain instead.

A study was performed to analyze if mindful eating for weight loss can be effective. The study showed successful results, however through indirect approaches. It involved a group of 34 females who completed a 12-week mindful eating training.

The results stated that after completion of the 12th week, an average weight loss of 4 pounds or 1.9 kgs was noticed among a majority of women in the group. The group also stated that weight loss was the result of the change of feeling towards food consumption that they experienced during their regular mindful eating practice.

Mind Eating changed the way they felt, looked, and tasted their meals. It replaced their negative feelings associated with eating with awareness and gratitude, staying in the moment and enjoying the food with every bite, acknowledging their feeling of the urge to eat more as well as fullness while eating,which lead to improved self-control, self-awareness, and positive emotions toward the food.

·        Mindful Eating for Binge Eating, Over Eating, and Sweet Cravings

A woman eats a croissant with strawberries, mint and jam with a knife and fork.

A randomized controlled trial involving 194 adults with obesity was conducted for 5.5 months. The study was focused on finding out the effects of the intervention of mindfulness while eating, on glucose levels in the body, and sweet cravings.

The participants were randomly allotted to two groups – Group 1 that involved exercise and diet programs with mindful eating practices and Group 2 which involved the same programs but without mindful eating practices.

After completion of the experiment, the group that practiced mindful eating combined with diet and exercises showed significantly improved maintenance of fasting blood glucose and decreased sweet intake. This showed that mindful eating for binge eating or overeating or sweet craving can be helpful.

On the other hand,increased fasting blood glucose wasnoticed in the controlled group with no mindful eating practices. Weight loss was also evaluated with these participants in both groups, however, there was no significant differencein weight change noticed between both groups.

·        Mindful Eating for Improving Food Choices


Another small controlled trial was conducted for 3 months that involved the participation of 50 adults with type 2 diabetes. The focus of the study was to determine the effects of the mindful intervention on overeating and eating regulations.

The participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups – Group 1 whichwas focused on reducing overeating with mindful interventions and Group 2 which was focused on improving food choices with help of diabetes self-management education (DSME).

After completion of the experiment, both groups showed improvements in measures of nutrition self-efficacy, controlling overeating, and better food choices. Both groups also noticed weight loss. Participants also experienced enhanced awareness of what they eat and how much they eat.

As much as it is safe to say that mindful eating for improving food choices can be effective, it is also true that the effects were experienced by both groups. Therefore, no significant difference in results was noticed between both groups.

Important Note –

Additional research and studiesare still required in order to determine what behaviors can be considered as ‘Mindful Eating Practices’. Only thencan more standardized approaches be involved to understand the exact impact of Mindfulness strategies on eating habits, disease prevention, and which group of people can benefit most from it. 

Why Should You Try Mindful Eating?

This guy is very delight of junk food. He is biting a big piece of burger and holding a full hand of french fries covered with ketchup. Young amn likes to eat oily meal. Isolated on white background

In today’s fast-paced world, a vast variety of food choices are easily available. Besides that, many distractions such as television, computers, smartphones, etc have drastically shifted the focus away from the act of eating. Eating has in fact become like a task, which is done mindlessly and often with the aim to finish quickly.

This is where the issue begins. Our brain requires time to register that we are full and if you eat too fast then the signal of fullness from your brain may not arrive. Until this signal arrives, you would have already eaten way too much without realizing it. This is commonly seen in people with Binge Eating Disorder (BED).

The practice of Mindful Eating restores your attention and helps you slow down making your eating experience an intentional act rather than an automatic act. It makes you more aware of your physical hunger and fullness signal. This in turn will also help you to distinguish between your emotional craving and actual physical hunger need.

The regular intervention of mindfulness while eating will gradually enable you to understand the triggers of unnecessary or overeating. This will allow you to create a space between the triggers and how you respond to them. Therefore, trying out Mindful Eating will improve your choice of foods, conscious sense of actual hunger, and better coping skills with emotional cravings.

What Are The Benefits of Mindful Eating?

Vegetarian man mixing vegetable salad in bowl

Mindful Eating leads us to choose our food wisely and consume food as much as required which can get rid of many further issues. Apart from that, embracing mindful eating techniques also has several other benefits, such as:

  • Improves your digestion
  • Helps regulate eating patterns
  • Supports weight management
  • Promotes enjoyment of food
  • Increases gratitude
  • Helps curb cravings
  • Builds healthy relationships with food
  • Builds a positive attitude towards food and yourself
  • Increased satisfaction with the food

What Attitudes Are Associated with Mindful Eating?

Vegetarian man mixing vegetable salad in bowl

Having a positive attitude is crucial for practicing Mindful Eating correctly. If you have a negative attitude, you are less likely to achieve satisfaction and the potential benefits of Mindful Eating. For example, saying “I cannot eat this” will be replaced with “I choose not to eat this”.

Some attitudes associated with Mindful Eating are:

  • Non Judgement –

Being aware of our judgment is one of the essential elements of mindful eating. Often when you see food, your first thought is regarding whether you like it or not. Eating it then depends on this judgment that often comes from your past experience with that food or is influenced by others. It is necessary to start the process of eating, rather than judging the experience beforehand.

  • Trust yourself –

To do anything with complete focus, you first require to trust yourself doing it. Your experience has nothing to do with anybody else’s experience. Acceptance that it is your own experience allows you the power to take decisions with more self-trust. It is important to appreciate what you feeland allow yourself to choose your response to different foods.

  • Patience –

Mindfulness is patience. Whatever you do mindfully will require a lot of patience with awareness. For example, it means, not just casually putting a handful of raisins in your mouth, but putting one at a time, chewing slowly, noticing the physical cues, tasting it bite by bite, swallowing, and feeling the joy of eating. This allows you to enjoy your food rather than rushing through it.

  • Non-Striving –

As said before, Mindful Eating is process-oriented behavior rather than result-oriented. Especially in the contrast to diet-mindedstriving for losing weight, it is necessary to understand no specific outcomes need to be measured during Mindful Eating. As an eater, you have the full right to enjoy your eating experience rather than expecting any particular outcome.

  • Acceptance –

Acceptance refers to the fact that you will be ready to notice and accept whatever the moment brings to you. Rather than deciding that you won’t like a certain food, or maybe it will not make your taste bud happy, you will be present in the moment and accept whatever it is, without judging it.

  • Letting go –

Letting go is important. It means letting go of any past expectations or experiences you have with food along with letting go of the attachment that you may have with certain foods. Letting go of these allows you to be more open to exploring and enjoying rather than connecting it to previous experiences and making an automated decision of not eating it or eating it too much.

7 Steps to Mindful Eating

woman drinking fresh juice

Below are the 7Steps to Mindful Eating which will help and guide those who want to begin with the practice:

  1. Begin with your shopping list First and very important thing is your shopping list. Make sure you consider the health value of every item on your list and avoid any impulse buying while at the grocery store.
  1. Come to eat with an appetite – not ravenous hunger – Skipping meals or not eating because you are busy must be avoided. This will only lead you to become eager to eat anything to fill your stomach rather than actually enjoying the food.
  1. Always start with a smaller portion – Do not fully fill your plates with a lot of food just because you have many good options. Instead, take a small portion of each that you would like to have. You can also take a smaller plate than regular.
  1. Appreciate the food in front of you – A very important step in mindful eating is gratitude. Take a minute and pause before you start eating. Right from noticing every food item on your plate to contemplating everyone it took to bring the meal for you. Silently express your gratitude and then begin eating.
  1. Bring all your senses to the table – While you cook, serve, and eat, be attentive to the texture, color, aroma, sounds, and taste of the food. While you chew and swallow the food, pay attention to identifying what you feel and let it just be there.
  1. Chew thoroughly – You may have heard this before that you should chew your food 20 to 40 times depending on what food you are having. You will be surprised by how many different essence and flavors you will experience.
  1. Eat slowly – If you understood all the above details and eat slowly, you won’t just have a good eating time but also prevent bolting food down. Take at least 5 minutes to yourself before connecting with any devices after you finish the meal.

Vital Considerations for Mindful Eating

 Female nutritionist with graph gives consultation to patient indoors in the office

  • Mindful eating must not be used as a substitute for professional medical care for serious eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa, which can be caused by neurochemical imbalances. While using mindfulness while eating can be a beneficial part of a treatment plan, it should not be used as the only form of treatment.
  • Research and studies have not consistently demonstrated that Mindful Eating will lead to weight loss. Nonetheless, it may be a beneficial supplement to a weight loss program. However, should not be viewed with the aim of losing weight.
  • Working with a registered dietitian to combine mindfulness and a meal plan may help reduce the risk of emotional overeating or binge eating. However, only correct measures and regular practice enable an individual to achieve its potential benefits. Hence, it is necessary to understand the considerations for mindful eating as well.

How to Teach Mindful Eating to Children?

mother Teaching Mindful Eating to Child

Mindful eating for children can be a huge task. This is why it is better to involve very simple but effective techniques. These techniques will help your kids to understand mindful eating in an interesting but also fun way.

  • Before we begin, the first thing you must remember is to turn off the screens while you are at the table. No phones, tablets, televisions, etc can distract your kids from being attentive and will not allow them to recognize when they are full.
  • Sit down and eat together with them. Eating together can be good for a lot of reasons, it gives you good family time, it allows children to be involved in the conversation, it enables them to make eating a priority, and also allows you to engage with your kids to guide them.
  • Teaching table manners is another great way of incorporating mindfulness in eating. For example, saying ‘excuse me’ while leaving the table, encouraging them to clean up after making any mess while eating, etc. This can be a great start to mindful eating for children.
  • Talk with them, ask them what they are eating, how they are feeling after eating, what the food items on the plate taste like, and if they are feeling satisfied. Keep the conversation going with a positive approach to creating positive relations even with the foods that kids may not like.
  • Do not force children to finish the plate just for the purpose of finishing it. Ask them if they are hungry, and ask them to count the items they had or want to have, ask them the color of the food they are having, this will give them a better understanding of what they exactly feel.
  • Last but not the least, avoid eating meals on the go, in the car, while multitasking, etc. It can make the kids use food as a cure for boredom, and they may also ignore their hunger like this. Teach them the importance of their meals by following all mentioned steps.

What Tips Can Help Mindful Eating?

alone woman having healthy meal

Try the following tips for mindful eating

  • When you initially start this practice, try having your meals alone and in silence. Some distractions like outside noise or people coming and going in the surrounding may not be controlled, but just do as much as you can. This will help to keep yourself away from any distractions and enable all your senses to focus on eating.
  • Phones must be kept out of sight. Right from phone calls, social media, to games, your phone can provide an immense level of distractions. Keep it away with all sounds turned off while you have your meals.
  • Notice what you like and what you don’t like about different food. Simply try embracing it without acting on it.
  • Express gratitude before or after your every meal. Notice details like how you feel when hungry, how you feel while eating, and when you are realizing fullness. Take at least 20 minutes to finish the meal.
  • Make sure to stop all the other activities as well – Reading, Writing, Working, and anything else that can distract your attention from eating.

Important Note – Now, you must understand that learning any skill takes time. Be compassionate and patient while you replace old eating behavior with mindful eating practice. For those who struggle with these tips for mindful eating may find it helpful to attend a mindful eating program or meet a dietitian or nutritionist.

Bottom Line

Adopting mindful eating can boost psychological well-being, satisfaction, and pleasure when eating, and foster better relationships with food and self.Research has shown that combining mindfulness training, nutrition knowledge, and regular practice can support healthy food choices, reduce the risk of chronic diseases and weight gain, and promote a healthy body image in the long run. Further research is needed to determine if this approach can be beneficial for weight management.

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