How to Change Eating Habits with Mindful Eating

(upbeat music) – Hey, munchies, I’m Alyssia. Welcome to this week’s video. Today we are talking about mindfulness. What is it? Thanks to Noom for sponsoring
a portion of this video. Mindfulness can be explained in many ways, but it is essentially the practice of having a focused awareness on the present moment without judgment. It started as a concept
within Buddhism centuries ago and has recently come into
the mainstream culture with a more scientific perspective. You may have heard about studies that show how mindful meditation
has both psychological and physiological benefits. What I am interested in
sharing with you today is how that concept of mindfulness
can apply to eating. Mindful eating actually has nothing to do with eating better, losing
weight, or being healthier. It changes your relationship with food and your relationship with your body. Mindfulness practices in
general affect the way that we engage with
and perceive the world, and the same thing happens when we apply that to our eating habits. I’ve been sharing content for a long time that focuses on what to eat, but what I’ve realized
on my own journey is that focusing on how is really what gets to the deeper root
of my relationship with food and creates lasting change,
and that how is mindfulness. We develop habits around food and eating just like we do anything else, and those habits are ingrained in the neural pathways of our brains, but we can change them. Neuroplasticity is the ability for our brain to change over time. And we can rewrite those
neural pathways and patterns to affect how we respond
to food, to our health, and to anything else in our lives. So how does that look day to day? I know, everyone wants
a list of things to do. The thing about mindfulness
is that it’s more about being than doing. It’s becoming an observer
of ourselves with patience and noticing how we act. We can’t make any changes
until we have awareness, so mindfulness brings
that awareness to light. Once we accept what’s going on, then we can move forward to change. Still, though, you’re
like, “I get it, Alyssia. “How do I eat more mindfully?” So I will give you a list
of three tools and exercises that you can incorporate into your life to build up that faculty of
mindfulness beyond meditation, so really four tools if
you count meditation. In my opinion, meditation is a given to help us be more mindful in general. The science has shown meditation to be a tool for neuroplasticity. I have a video to help you get started. And while I didn’t want that to be the focus of this video, I also didn’t wanna overlook it because I really do think it’s the tool that’s helped me the most. Okay, moving on, number one
is a gratitude practice. It has significantly opened me up to being more aware and present, and it’s a great
complement to mindfulness. Gratitude helps us notice our blessings and appreciate what we have and what we often take for granted. Something as simple as writing down three things
you’re grateful for every day can have a huge impact. People see others
experience transformations, and they only see a few reference points, where they were then compared
to where they are now. They don’t see all the
nitty-gritty stuff in the middle, and it’s easy to think, hmm, wow, they must have made some
big change to get there, when the truth is most
transformations are a bunch of little changes. So for me, a gratitude
practice was a small change that made a big difference. Approaching gratitude mindfully strengthens our practices even more. So what does that look like? I want you to think of something that you are un-grateful for. Okay, I know that’s not
really a word, but go with me. So a job, a relationship,
a financial situation, something that makes you react with anger or resistance, resentment,
frustration, something negative. Now, I want you to think of all the things that are good about it. (record scratches)
Say what? Seriously, give yourself two minutes to come up with as many silver linings about this thing that
you are un-grateful for. So does the job that you hate provide support for your family? Has the financial situation helped you become more resourceful? This helps us increase our
awareness around the lessons that can be learned from these challenges, and it helps us uptick
that gratitude meter. I encourage you to try this
with all areas of your life and try to do one every single
day for a week or a month, and you just might see some really profound perspective
shifts along the way. Number two is eating without disruptions. This is easier said than done. (laughs) When is the last time that
you sat down and ate a meal without a phone or a screen of any kind, no book to read, no list
to write, or nothing to do? To just sit down and be
present with our food without distractions can
be extremely eye-opening. First, when we do
anything while distracted, it’s impossible to be mindful. We can’t be mindful and
distracted at the same time. When we’re not mindful, we’re
more likely to overeat, right? We’re mindless. We definitely aren’t appreciating the food and what it’s doing for
our body or our health, much less how it tastes, and we’re left beating
ourselves up over our habits as if they shouldn’t be the way they are. I encourage you to sit down and have one mindful meal
this week on your own. If you can make this a weekly
and eventually daily practice, you’ll discover a lot about
your own eating habits, your thought patterns, your urges. Just notice those when they
come up and try not to judge. Here’s a mindful eating
exercise that’s popular with those studying
mindfulness all over the world. I am currently getting my master’s degree in mindfulness studies, and it was a homework assignment for me, which is pretty cool. Get a couple of raisins and
place them in front of you. Sit comfortably in your seat if you’re in a chair, with your feet flat. Close your eyes and take
a couple of deep breaths. Notice your inhale and exhale
and do this a couple of times until you’re grounded and relaxed. Open your eyes and look at the raisin. Look at curiously as if you’re a child seeing
a raisin for the first time. I know it sounds funny, but just try it. What does it look like? What the colors or the
shape, the size, texture? Don’t judge it, just notice. If you feel silly, just notice that too and try not to judge it. I notice that it’s small and
wrinkly and not symmetrical. It’s sort of deep brownish-red. When I hold it up to the light, the color lightens and changes. Okay, next, add the sense of touch. How does it feel in your hand? When you roll it between
your fingers or squish it, what’s the texture? I notice it’s particularly
squishy and soft, yet it actually feels sort
of rough when I just focus on what’s going on with the
sensation at my fingertips. How about the temperature? Are you noticing new things
with the way it looks? It’s actually a little bit cold, but it warms up the more I touch it. Next, the sense of smell. Have you ever smelled a single raisin? The sense of taste is
linked closely to smell, so can you guess what it might
taste like just by the smell? Again, no judgment. My mouth is actually starting to water as I smell a single raisin. It smells sweet. It’s actually quite potent and fragrant. Finally, take a bite, just a small bite. Now, I had never eaten a
single raisin before, (laughs) which is partially why
this is often the food used in this exercise, although you can really
do it with any food. Chew it, roll it around on your tongue, and notice what your other
senses are telling you about the raisin as you eat it. It was so much sweeter than
I remembered a raisin being. Maybe I had never really
paid that much attention. It was almost like eating pure sugar, but with a hint of
tartness, soft on the inside with a bit of a tougher
bite on the outside. As the inside of the
raisin tossed in my mouth, I get bits of more sweetness than I do with the skin of the raisin. It’s squishy and juicy and tasty. I notice that I like the taste, but if you don’t like the taste, just notice that too without judging it. Notice any sounds as you eat the food. Take in new information from all of the senses without judging. I hear my teeth chewing in my head, the raisin being broken apart. Continue to chew and swallow the food. I feel the tang go down
the back of my troat. If you can, take an entire
five minutes to eat a raisin. It’s really an experience. This is mindful eating to the extreme. I’m not saying that you
gotta eat every bite of food like this, but
this is a cool exercise to really help us understand
the deep perspective and awareness that mindfulness can bring. I learned so much about a raisin that I had never noticed before. Okay, the last tip, number
three, is accountability through a compassionate
support system like Noom. Thanks to noom for sponsoring
this portion of the video. Noom is a service and app designed by behavioral psychologists on a mission to help
people lead healthier lives through behavior change. I love that Noom moves away from encouraging extreme eating habits and focusing on what to eat and instead takes a
mindfulness-based approach to help us learn and practice the how. Like I said earlier, a big part of my personal
journey was learning not to get so lost in the
details of what I was eating and really start to focus on
the deeper-rooted emotional and mental habits that
I developed around food. It’s unlike any health
app I’ve encountered because rather than
focusing on weight loss, it encourages eating real whole foods with a mindfulness-based curriculum rooted in psychology and cognitive
behavioral therapy, or CBT. In fact, every user gets
a one-on-one health coach who is a professional trained in CBT. And I love that they focus
on non-scale victories rather than weight loss, so things like becoming more
confident, having more energy, and feeling a greater sense
of happiness in general. Once they help get you to the root of those personal barriers and patterns, they help users develop
new healthier patterns, goals, and opportunities for change. Anyone on a journey to develop
more mindfulness is going to require discipline and accountability, and I think Noom is a great system to help us stay true to
those authentic goals. If you wanna take a free 30-second quiz, head to noom.com and follow
them on Instagram @noom. So many of us have been on the hunt for something sustainable for a long time, and I just don’t think we’re
gonna find those answers by focusing on the what,
like which diet we’re eating. A mindful approach has been key to my growth in overcoming that barrier. I’m a work in progress,
but I’m getting there, and I know that you can get there too. I hope that you can try out these tools. Remember, non-judgment is key. If you feel goofy, just go
with it, don’t judge it. If you feel irritated, just notice that. A good mental hack is to pay attention and notice if you find
yourself using the word should. So if you’re telling
yourself, “I should do this,” or “I shouldn’t be doing that,” there’s some judgment going on, and it’s hard to notice when
we’re so wrapped up in it. So let that word be an alarm for you. Okay, thank you so much for being here, and thanks to Noom for
sponsoring this video. If you want more content
related to mindful eating and how I shifted my focus toward how I eat rather
than what, let me know, because I would love to create more videos like this for you. Mindfulness has been such a huge part of my life the last few years, and I think it can transform
anyone who’s open to it. I will see you next week. And remember, it’s all a
matter of mind over munch.

Jerry Heath


  1. When I saw you with pink hair in the thumbnail, Alyssia, you looked absolutely adorable. What's your best tip for making a coffee cake look decorative?

  2. Whenever you see a successful person you only see the public glories, never the private sacrifices to reach them. I'm finding growing my study and meditation music YouTube channel to be hard work, but I'm sure this was also true of those channels that are currently very successful. Keep going and you will make it.

  3. Do we call you Lucy now👩‍🦰👩‍🦰👩‍🦰👩‍🦰👩‍🦰👩‍🦰👩‍🦰👩‍🦰👩‍🦰👩‍🦰👩‍🦰👩‍🦰😎😳👏😉🙊(you’re extremely very very young)

  4. Thank you for this video. I have such a bad habit of eating in the middle of the night. I do enjoy learning about mindfulness. It has help me regarding various environments I'm in.

  5. I'd actually love more videos about this! I was getting really frustrated with this feeling of knowing I need better eating habits and even knowing what foods would make good replacements, but because of circumstances out of my control I have ingrained habits that make that feel impossible. I'd really love some tips for changing ingrained/since childhood eating habits that aren't the best. Other than that, loved the video!!

  6. I started mindful eating and it has helped me truly get in touch with my body. I noticed that several foods, like dairy, made me feel crappy when I was eating them. When I cut them out my body feels so much better. I also started making themed lunches (like rice balls shaped as a fish when I put smoked salmon in them kind of themed) and it made me focus on the food. I feel happy when I make food beautiful and it made me more mindful of what went into those foods.

  7. I find that if I eat when 8m not distracted I tend to rush my food and get indigestion. I started watching you tube videos whilst eating as an aim to slow myself down. My brain gets bored so I rush to do the next thing, having something to distract my brain helps me eat slowly

  8. Omg! I've done the raisin exercise too when I took a Mindfulness class. I didn't know you could get your masters in Mindfulness studies 🤯👌 that's awesome! Thanks so much for uploading this, it was very helpful.❤ need more like this.

  9. Thank you for this. I am a visual learner and watching you slowly experience that raisin was so interesting and helpful. Reading these steps would not have helped me at all.

  10. This was very interesting, I started different eating habits this year and have just been taking notes but, the "no judgment" is very mind opening. I liked this yes, please do more!

  11. Thanks for the perfect timing of this video, I have just started to get back to my healthy dieting after depression eating for a while now. Your content has always been very helpful in keeping my food goals in the foreground of my health and reminding me that it doesn't have to be hard. Keep it up! <3

  12. Noom only sponsored a portion…. never heard of that before! They need t be sponsoring the whole video okkkurrr😂

  13. Wonderful video. I'm doing a masters in nutrition just now, and I've been learning about behavior change so this is right on time

  14. Noom…,, we need a discount code… not a quiz😂😂😂. I was excited i been debating trying noom.

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