Mindful Eating Benefits – Interview With Dietitian Humairah Hameed

In this interview, Byherbs speaks to Humairah Hameed, Accredited Nutritionist, Dietitian and founder of Mind Your Nutrition Consultancy. She shares the benefits of Mindful Eating as a powerful tool for one’s health and wellness.

Tell us about your experience in the health and nutrition industry.

Alhamdullilah, it has been a wonderful journey getting to know other like-minded health enthusiasts. These have given opportunity for discussions on ways to improve our community’s health. Although healthcare in Singapore is still largely concentrated in the hospitals, we are gradually moving towards preventive healthcare. This is important  to increase the awareness and knowledge at the community level. As this is also my area of interest, I’m happy that our community is becoming increasingly proactive about their health and are motivating others to do the same.

What can you tell us about the community’s overall health?

As most of us are aware, our community has a disproportionate number of people with diabetes, kidney disease, high cholesterol and hypertension. Many delay going for health check ups as they don’t see a need for it since nothing feels wrong. However, this mindset has to change as early diagnosis can help to manage the condition better and prevent complications later on.

What initiatives are available to improve our health and wellness?

There are some useful online communities that provide weekly exercise, nutrition tips and healthier tried-and-tested recipes. In addition, there are many free health screenings organised by community centres  to encourage more people to get checked early.

What is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating is a powerful tool that helps us gain control over our eating habits. It requires us to be more conscious of our food and physical sensations while eating. When done consistently and correctly, it can help treat eating disorders, depression and anxiety. It may even result in weight loss.

Mindful Eating vs Dieting.

Mindful eating is not a diet. Instead, it is about how we eat rather than what we eat. Therefore it is a more sustainable way of eating and brings about better weight loss success in the long term.

How do we practise Mindful Eating?

To practice mindful eating, we need to ask ourselves these important questions:

  1. Are we conscious or subconscious when eating?
  2. When grabbing that bite, are we in touch or in trance?
  3. As we take our meals, are we attentive or distracted?
  4. Do we take pauses when eating or is it habitual?

We should aim for the former instead of the latter for each question.

Why should we practise mindful eating?

Although recently made popular in the West, mindful eating is not a new concept. The beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had practiced mindfulness in many areas of his life, including eating. We can begin by following the sunnah ways of taking small bites of food using three fingers and chewing our food slowly and properly before swallowing. It takes approximately 20 minutes for our brain to receive signals from the stomach that it’s full. Thus eating mindfully can help us eat less yet feel more satisfied after our meals.

What is your final advice for people on mindful eating?

As with practising new habits, this will take time and patience. Get a friend or family member on board to support and remind each other through this process.