For many of us, our relationship with food is complicated. We often need to be reminded to slow down and tune into our food. Have you ever been driving and all of a sudden you realize you don’t remember the last five miles? The same thing can happen to us with food, and you may not even realize it! In the middle of a gripping horror movie you might consume the entire tub of popcorn and not remember a single bite! We’ve all experienced a time where we were mindlessly shoveling food in. We’re human. But we also know that this isn’t the most healthful way for our bodies or our minds. We need to slow down and eat more mindfully.
What Is Mindful Eating?
Mindful eating is the practice of slowing down and deliberately paying attention to the food you are taking in. When you’re being mindful, you are conscious of what’s happening inside of your body and around you. You also pay close attention to your body’s reaction to the meal and stay present without judgement.
How Can Mindful Eating Benefit Me?
There are a multitude of benefits you’ll reap when you practice mindful eating:
- Become a better witness to your own senses and how your body responds.
- Eat less by slowing down.
- Eliminate unconscious behaviors by being present.
- Increase your appreciation for food.
- Enhance your overall dining experiences.
How Do I Practice Mindful Eating?
There is no set way to practice mindful eating, but the overall idea is to slow down, tune in and pay attention to what’s going on in front of you. Here are a few ways to become more mindful at mealtime:
- Be intentionally aware and appreciative of the healthy food you’re eating. As you eat, consider all that occurred in order for that food to arrive on your plate.
- Take note of the colors, tastes, smells, textures, temperatures and sounds as you eat.
- Notice how your body feels. Are you still hungry? Take short breaks as you eat to allow time for your body to catch up to your mind and take note of hunger and fullness cues.
- Pay attention to how you feel when you are full, so you can become more aware of that feeling every time you eat. (This will be especially helpful when you are being a bit less mindful!)
- Note impulses that arise as you dine and acknowledge them, but stick to your mindfulness practice.
With the pace of today’s society, it’s unlikely that you will be able to quietly and mindfully consume every meal. In cases like these, take small moments to be mindful. Be extra conscious and appreciative of your first three bites. Or always take a moment to pause and take in the food on your plate before you dive in.
Mindfulness is a conscious choice, and it takes time to make it a habit. For more tips, ideas and support, contact me. Wellness is a journey, and the food we eat is an important part!
A nurse for more than 25 years, Karen David is a Certified Wellness Coach and Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist. She brings her passion for well living and calm presence to empower others in health and wellness. Karen is CEO of Live Life Well, LLC.
This article is for informational purposes only. Practices, services or products described are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please speak with a doctor before beginning any new health regimen.