Do you often eat meals without really noticing the taste of the food? You are more focused on reading emails, watching tv, making sure the kids are eating their vegetables and keeping the dog from begging rather than your meal. Do you just go into auto-pilot when eating? I will eat this food that’s in front of me and continue eating until it’s gone, not really savoring or noticing how your body feels while eating?
If you do, you are not alone. Most of us are not mindful when we eat. Eating has become one of the things we multitask. And it’s one of the reasons why we may eat too much, eat the wrong foods, and never feel satisfied after eating a meal.
Over the next several weeks, we will be going to highlight 8 steps for mindful eating. Since this is a practice many of us are not used to, one step will be mastered each week, until eventually we will be fully mindful eaters.
So what exactly is mindful eating?
Mindful eating is being present when you are eating. No distractions, only you and the food. Your focus is on the sensation of eating, the flavor of the food and how your body feels while eating.
Why practice mindful eating?
Mindful eating is beneficial to our overall health and wellbeing. It is also a great weight loss and weight maintenance tool.
Oftentimes we are not attuned to our bodies signals, especially when it comes to food. We eat because it’s “lunch time”, because the food looks or smells good, because we are bored, sad, happy, etc.
With mindful eating, you eat to nourish your body. You listen to your bodies physical cues of hunger and fullness, and eat accordingly. You do not eat to celebrate an achievement. You do not eat to pass the time. Instead you eat to give your body the fuel it needs when it desires it.
During this practice, you will recognize what triggers you have for eating when you are not hungry and find other methods of dealing with these incidents. If you are happy, instead of a cupcake, dance and sing. If you are sad, instead of ice cream, seek the counsel of a close friend or relative.
Mindful eating is a healthy relationship with food. It is not counting calories. It is not meal planning. It is not deprivation or starvation. It is enjoying the process of eating for what it simply is: providing energy for your body.
Over the next several weeks, we will examine the steps to mindful eating. These include:
- Eliminating distractions
- Take your time
- Give thanks
- Think small
- Using your senses
- Check in with hunger
- Try new things
- Save the best for last