Can mindful eating help with IBS?

Mindful Eating with IBS - Yoghurt

Mindful eating is a powerful technique that can help enhance your relationship with food both emotionally and physically.

What is mindful eating?

Mindful eating is an easily learnt skill that allows you to focus your attention and awareness on the present moment. Mindful eating is not focused on what we eat but how we eat. With busy lives, technology and our external surroundings we often can be rushed to eat or distracted when eating. Through mindful eating, emphasis is placed on listening to our bodies and adopting positive eating habits.

 

How do I eat mindfully?

There are a number of small practices you can put in place when eating mindfully.

Before you eat, think about;

  • Am I hungry or thirsty? What do I feel like eating or drinking?
  • Do you have a nice place to sit down and eat with minimal distractions? It is best to sit rather than eat when walking and minimize distractions like putting your phone down during this time or turning off the TV.

As you start to eat:

  • Begin with a few deep breaths. This helps to slow you down and focus on the present – especially helpful during a busy workday.
  • Focus on your food. What does it smell like? Does it look appetising? Place it in your mouth, but before chewing think about the textures and the tastes?
  • Wait until you finish each bite completely before preparing your next bite. A great tip for this is to put down your cutlery between each bite.
  • Check in with yourself. As you move through your meal, think about how the food satisfies you. Do you want to finish your plate? Or perhaps do you need more?

 

How can mindful eating help IBS?

Mindful eating has a number of benefits, some of which may be helpful for people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Stress

Stress has been strongly linked for people experiencing IBS, and mindful eating is one approach that can help with reducing stress. Stress can worsen symptoms associated with IBS and negatively impact our digestive system.  Mindful eating allows us to release some of the stress (whether emotional and physical) prior to eating. This in turn can aid in the relaxation of our digestive system and may lead to improved symptoms associated with IBS.

Enjoyment of food

Particularly when people are suffering from digestive conditions such as IBS, enjoying food can be tough. Through mindful eating techniques such as checking in with our bodies and satisfaction cues, food enjoyment can be increased. This can also help with reducing emotions such as anxiety around eating.


What is your experience with mindful eating? Do you have IBS and mindfully eat? Leave us a comment below.

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