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From our blog.

‘Mindful Eating’ Has Been Co-Opted by Diet Culture

Amy Gardner / August 18, 2023

Everything is coopted by diet culture these days.  Even mindful eating, an effective approach to healing disordered eating and finding food has been used by the popular dieting app, Noom to disguise dieting.

How do you know the difference between true mindful eating and mindful eating coopted by diet culture?

Here are a few distinctions
Mindful Eating for Food Freedom
  • Utilizing awareness of hunger and fullness cues as a way to care for the body and increase comfort
  • Noticing what foods appeal to you and choosing accordingly
  • Curiously exploring all the reasons we eat without judgement 
  • No attachment to weight loss 
Mindful Eating for Dieting
  • Utilizing awareness of hunger and fullness cues to restrict intake
  • Promise that mindful eating will lead to weight loss
  • Judgement around eating for reasons other than hunger (i.e. emotional, pleasure)
  • Assumption that if you’re eating mindfully, you won’t want “bad foods”

If you are practicing mindful eating, notice how diet culture shows up.  Maybe you’ll hear an internal judgmental voice say “that wasn’t a mindful choice” or “make sure to stay mindful of your fullness… don’t eat more than you need”.  

If and when you notice this, I invite you to welcome in some new thoughts.  Here are a couple ideas:

“What am I really wanting to eat right now?”

“How did that taste?”

“How satisfied do I feel?”  

“My body feels full”

Try to focus on neutralizing your observations, noticing when judgement creeps in.  True mindfulness is the observation of what is without judgement or agenda.