Mindfulness is the practice of bringing full awareness to the present moment. You can speak mindfully. Listen mindfully. Drive mindfully. Walk mindfully. Of course you can also eat mindfully!
Eating mindfully has many benefits. For one it keeps you from over eating. Most of us are over fed and yet you still hear people make the claim, “I’m STARVING” as if they haven’t eaten for days! In our SuperSize culture it is not hard to consume too many calories and too little healthy vitamins and minerals. When you eat mindfully you are forced to pay attention what and how much you are putting into your body. Most of us have bad eating habits, but when you eat mindfully you suddenly have the room to make a new choice. The awareness you bring into the moments before, during and after eating can empower you to make better decisions for your body. It also makes you more aware of what your body really needs. We are constantly bombarded with ads that make us think we want certain foods but when you mindfully enter your body and ask yourself “Is that what I really want and need?” the answer may differ more than you realize! I believe that many of our health problems in the Western world could be solved by being more mindful of what we eat and how we eat it.
In addition eating mindfully can also increase your energy and put you in a better mood. When you fuel yourself properly the benefits are noticeable! You may also lost weight or maintain a lean physique. It can even improve your mental capacities! And in addition to all of these things, you don’t have to stop enjoying food…in fact you will probably enjoy food more!
Here are some suggestions for eating mindfully:
- Prior to your first bite, pause and notice that you are breathing. Return to your breath each time you put your eating utensil down.
- Look at the colors, shapes, textures and origin of the food that you are putting in your body.
- Question whether this is the food that you want in your body prior to consumption.
- Turn off your phone while eating, if possible.
- Consider the people whose efforts were necessary in order to bring this food to you in the condition it is in.
- How do your prepare food? Can you be totally present with the chopping, peeling and stirring?
- Try eating a meal in silence with or without company.
- Count your chews.
- Pay attention to the complicate process of swallowing.
- Wonder about the connection between your food and nature. Was sunlight, rain, and soil involved in the growing and harvesting of your food?
- Listen to your body while you are eating. Can you feel the signal from your body that you have eaten enough? What do you do when you feel that signal?
- How does your body feel well after you have eaten? Are you feeling heavy, light, or neutral? How much energy do you have?
Try 2 or 3 of these tips next time you have a meal. Leave a comment about your experience. Was it fun, interesting, challenging? I want to hear about it!