More often than not, diets fail. Whether you’re trying out a new style of diet or you’re simply trying to be more restrictive for a few weeks leading up to a special event, you’ll probably end up reverting to your previous way of eating.
Your brain tends to think of diets as short-term, and because of this, diets don’t always succeed in the long term. Mindful eating, on the other hand, is a way to eat intuitively.
You eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, don’t deny yourself strange or random cravings, and overall, just listen to your body. And lucky for you, there are some great apps out there that can help get you started on your mindful eating journey.
When you first open Shutterbite, you can see a glimpse of your current routines, daily summaries from the previous day (and weekly summaries if there’s enough information), and a spot to quickly enter the current day’s meals. You can tap the plus sign in the bottom right corner to add a new routine, check in with yourself, or enter a meal.
Then, there’s a Journal tab where you can see all your past entries. From here, you can see past meals you’ve entered and copy them to save time, view a timeline of your check-ins, or scroll through your activity for individual days. The free version of Shutterbite gives you 50 available check-ins, but if you want more, you’ll have to subscribe to a premium plan.
The last available tab in Shutterbite gives you a more in-depth overview of your week. You can see data on your hunger levels, why you ate, how many meals you ate, your fullness level, and how you felt overall.
2. Mindful Eating Coach
If you need help adjusting to eating intuitively, try out the Mindful Eating Coach app. The app helps you coach yourself before eating to resist urges, reflect on what you’ve just eaten, think about the day as a whole, and plan for the next day.
For people who love to snack throughout the day, the coaching section in this app will call you out if you’re not really hungry. The app asks what you notice about feeling hungry, how much you’ve eaten in the past two hours, and why you want to eat. This check-in helps you figure out whether you’re actually hungry or just eating because you’re bored, sad, excited, or feeling some other emotion.
This mindful eating app records all your answers and compiles the data in the Review tab. Here, you can see six different goals the app is tracking: types of eating events, mindfulness after eating, whether the “Worth It” ratings improved after eating, fullness after eating, reasons you wanted to eat, and reasons you may have overeaten.
There’s also an awesome Lessons tab where you can find super useful information on the different reasons people eat, the self-compassion mindset, and other mindful eating tips and tricks.
3. UnDiet Your Mind
UnDiet Your Mind is a fantastic nutrition app to try if you’ve struggled with constant dieting and find that nothing has ever worked for you. Unfortunately, you need a premium subscription in order to use most of the app.
With the free version, you can read through a ton of useful articles and get a feel for whether or not the app would be worth it. By subscribing, however, you’ll gain daily prompts and action steps, access to the community, live coaching sessions twice a week, and monthly bonuses. Then, you can also access meditations and movement classes to incorporate soft exercise into your daily routine.
4. Eat Right Now
Eat Right Now is another great mindful eating app and guide to being healthier and fitter overall. The app does a lot to educate you on mindful eating and why it’s so important. Under the Lessons tab, you can do one learning module per day, which takes about 10 minutes to complete. A few modules from Week 1 include The Science of Eating, Emotional Eating, and Body Scan.
Then, under the Tools tab, you’ll find breathing exercises, a guided body scan, and a few other pre-recorded audio clips. Otherwise, everything you need on a regular basis is on the home screen. On top of the home screen, you’ll see the learning module you’re currently on, and underneath, you’ll see four options to select: Check-In, Craving Tool, Stress Test, and Want-O-Meter.
The Craving Tool can help you manage cravings, whether you’re having a craving for a particular food or of an unhealthy amount of a certain food. The Stress Test helps determine whether you’re actually hungry, reaching for food out of habit, or feeling stressed. Similar to The Craving Tool, the Want-O-Meter is used when you’re currently having a bad craving; the app will suggest some useful mental exercises to go through to stop the craving.
If you love the app and want more out of it, you can pay for a premium subscription. Doing so unlocks the Community tab, where you can keep journal entries and join weekly video chats with doctors and other food specialists to learn more about mindful eating practices.
Have a Happy Relationship With Food
Short weight-loss plans and other diet fads are notoriously hard to follow and stick with, leaving you feeling like a failure by the end of it. Anything that’s super restrictive ends up making you crave what you gave up even more, but mindful eating connects your body to your mind and helps you make the smartest decisions for you.
Through practicing mindful eating, you might find that you’re drawn to a specific diet or tactic, such as intermittent fasting. It’s also worth mentioning that not being restrictive while practicing mindful eating doesn’t mean eating sugary snacks whenever you want. Instead, intuitive eating is listening to your natural body cues and eating mainly whole foods and the occasional snack.
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