Mastering The Art Of Mindful Eating
Our minds tend to wander half of the time and in the strangest circumstances (while working, talking to someone, eating, etc.). The practice of mindfulness has been used in a number of areas to help people improve their health and sense of well-being.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
Mindfulness has also been widely used in the context of eating — called mindful eating. Studies published by the National Institute of Health and the American Psychosomatic Society show that people who eat mindfully achieve a healthy weight, form healthier eating habits, and keep excess weight off long term.
Here are seven ways to eat mindfully every day.
1. Make it an event
All too often, we grab a meal on the fly while running from one errand to another. Make it a point to make each meal an event — a breakfast, a lunch, or a dinner, or a snack — with a start and an end. Simply setting an eating schedule, for example — breakfast at 7:30 am, lunch at 12:00 pm, snack at 3:30 pm, and dinner at 6:30 pm — can help you make an event of it.
2. Remove distractions
Having the TV on in the background, scrolling through your phone, or reading the newspaper while eating takes your attention away from your meal and may cause you to eat more than you intended to. Have you ever been eating while doing something else and wonder where the food went (or if someone stole food off of your plate?)? Before you sit down, put away all distractions so that you can focus on the meal at hand.
3. Take a deep breath
Once you sit down, take a deep breath. Taking a deep breath is a simple yet effective way to bring yourself into the present moment — the definition of mindfulness.
4. Engage your senses
Before taking your first bite, pay attention to the following: How does your meal look? What types of aromas do you smell? When you put your fork in your food, how does it feel? Is it soft? Take a moment to engage all of your senses. Slow down.
5. Chew, swallow and reflect
After you swallow each bite, observe how you are feeling. How did the food feel in your mouth? What flavors stood out? Did this bite taste just like your previous bite? Did you enjoy this mouthful as much as the last? How are you feeling? Are you hungry? Full? Are you satisfied?
6. Put your fork down
Between each bite, put your fork down! This is an essential step in helping you slow down. Since it can take up to 20 minutes for your brain to register your fullness, slowing down is an important step in tapping into your hunger and fullness cues.
7. Practice, practice, practice!
Like with anything, mastery takes practice. The more often you practice eating mindfully, the better you’ll get! (Feel free to visit mindful.org to learn more about practicing mindfulness).
IN A NUTSHELL 🥜
Mindful eating is a powerful tool to regain control of your eating. f conventional diets haven’t worked for you, this technique is worth considering.
If you want to try mindful eating, you can find many good books on the topic in stores and online. Alternatively, you can book a one-on-one session to chat about how you can use mindful eating to improve your health.
After reading this post, what is one way you can begin eating mindfully this week? Make a goal, comment your goal below, and commit to it this week! I promise, you won't regret it!