A few tips on how to eat more mindfully. Included below!
So what is mindful eating, you ask?
Mindful eating is maintaining an in-the-moment awareness of mealtime. The goal is to observe how the food makes you feel and the signals your body sends about taste, satisfaction, and fullness.
It also involves noting all 5 senses during the eating experience, and simply observing how you’re feeling. Notice your body (rumbling stomach, low energy, stressed out, satisfied, full, empty). Notice your level of hunger and ask yourself what you’re truly hungry for – physical hunger, emotional hunger? Check your stress level before eating, as you might be turning to food even when you’re not really hungry.
A few more tips below:
- Stay in the moment.
- Avoid multi-tasking during meal times. Aim to sit down and eat without distractions such as the television or computer. Turn off the TV. Sit down. When you eat, just eat.
- take a deep breath or take a second to be thankful for their meal before eating. Acknowledge the gift of food and the effort that went into growing and preparing it, and appreciate your meal.
- Notice the texture, aroma, and flavor (is it crunchy, sweet, salty, smooth, spicy?). Allow enough time to eat, slow way down, and chew 15-20 times per bite, appreciating the flavors and textures of each bite.
- Speak mindfully and compassionately to yourself. Notice when “shoulds,” rigid rules or guilt pops into your mind.
A good way to start mindful eating is through a raisin exercise! You can do this with a raisin or other small food item of choice.
- The raisin exercise (can be done with any item of food).
- Hold + see: Take a raisin and hold it in the palm of your hand or between your finger and thumb. Gaze at the raisin with care and full attention.
- Touch + Smell: Turn the raisin over between your fingers, exploring its texture. With each inhalation, take in any smell, aroma, or fragrance that may arise.
- Taste + swallow: Notice the sensations of taste and texture in your mouth and how these may change over time. See if you can first detect the intention to swallow as it comes up, so that it’s a conscious effort.
- Follow: See if you can feel what is left of the raisin moving down into your stomach, and sense how your body as a whole is feeling after you have completed this exercise.