Step 4 of the mindful eating series is using your senses by noticing the appearance, smell, taste and feel of your food. This not only helps you slow down while eating, but helps you enjoy your meal. Enjoyment and satisfaction with your food is an important step to not overeating.
Have you ever eaten something and not been satisfied? This happens a lot when people have cravings they don’t give in to or when they eat something that just didn’t taste good to them. They eat their snack or meal, and still want something else, even though they are not hungry anymore. This also happens when you don’t take the time to notice your food. You are eating a snack or meal quickly, maybe while typing an email or watching TV, and you don’t realize the smell, taste, the feel of the food. You don’t use your senses, so you almost feel like you didn’t even eat, and are craving the experience of sensing your food.
To help prevent this problem, follow these simple steps:
- Turn off all distractions, make your plate, sit down in a comfy spot and give thanks for your food.
- Before taking a single bite, look at your food. What does it look like? Sometimes food can be quite beautiful. Just take several seconds to notice how your food really looks.
- Smell the food. The smell of food can be quite satisfying! Enjoy the aroma. Notice if the smell brings back any memories. Does the smell take you back to a childhood moment? Does it make you think of a certain season? (The smell of cinnamon and peppermint always make me think of Christmas time.)
- Take a bite but don’t chew too quickly. Notice the texture of the food on your tongue. Is it smooth and creamy, crisp and crunchy, or soft and silky? Notice the pleasure you can gain from different textures of food.
- Taste the food. This is probably all of our favorite steps, but many times we don’t even take the time to truly taste our food. What is the flavor of the food? Is it earthy, sweet, salty? Notice if the flavor changes as you chew. Does the flavor deepen with every bite? If you are eating a meal with several different flavors, do the flavors mesh well together? Notice if different combinations of food items change or enhance the flavor of your food.
- Notice the flavors that linger in your mouth after you swallow your food. Is there an aftertaste? Does the flavor linger in your mouth?
You may not start out doing this for every bite of every meal, but I encourage you to take the time to do this for at least 50% of the bites you take. The meal will become more pleasurable, and you will naturally follow steps 1-3 of mindful eating.
I will be hosting a post-Halloween 3 day clean eating program starting on Monday November 3rd! If you are like me and LOVE Halloween candy a bit too much, then this 3 day program is the perfect way to start your November off on the right foot! Contact me or follow me on Facebook for more information!