How To Promote Mindfulness When Eating (And REALLY Enjoy Your Meal)

Consider the experience your meals bring to your body.

How is it that the biologically necessary and pleasurable act of eating has become a troublesome and unhappy event in our daily lives? Why is it that in a country with an abundance of food do we often feel unsatisfied and disappointed with our meal choices?

The bottom line is that we have become disconnected to many daily functions and have forgotten how to be present while we eat. We consume food automatically and without consciousness.

Here’s how to promote mindfulness when eating and really enjoy your meal.

The problem isn’t your food choices—your lack of awareness is.

In the US, eating on the run seems to be an everyday event—American adults spend an average of 74 minutes eating each day. This estimated time includes all meals and snacks combined. When viewing this 74 minutes to include 3 meals and 3 snacks, this reflects that we spend 12 minutes on each of the 6 separate eating occasions.

This brief amount of time does not offer enough of an opportunity to chew and savor most of your food in a focused, enjoyable way.

Do you find that you’re often so busy trying to balance your professional life with your personal obligations that eating seems like a chore?

Because time is at a premium and your day includes a long to-do list, do you often find yourself eating in your car during your lunch break while you run errands? At your computer for a mid-day snack? Or settling in for dinner on the couch in front of the television to catch up on the news stories of the day?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be time to take a hard look in the mirror and reassess your health before it’s too late.

What is mindful eating?

When eating mindfully, you are paying complete attention to the action of what you are consuming. Be aware of the texture, color, flavor, and yes, even the sound (crunch) of your food.

Consider the experience of your body—your inner sensations and surrounding environment. Are you feeling satisfied? Did you eat because you were hungry or because of your emotions? Where you tempted and ate simply because the food was within your reach?

Daily self-care will be the key to your living a passionate and energetic life. Begin to develop healthier eating habits by taking ownership of your current lifestyles and deeply rooted habits.

Tips for practicing mindful eating.

  • Stop eating on the go. You are less likely to savor your food if you’re busy multi-tasking.
  • Take time to reflect on why you are about to eat. Is it true physical hunger or are you eating because your emotions are in overdrive?
  • Pay attention to your portions and plate size—the fact is that most of us eat with our eyes. If given a large plate or bowl, we will be tempted to fill it and compelled to eat it.
  • Eat your meal in silence so that you can fully experience it. Spend this time letting your brain wind down and appreciate the present moment—your obligations will still be there when you’re finished.
  • Stay away from anything with a screen. Don’t allow the distractions of technology derail your awareness—don’t look at your empty plate and wonder where the food went.
  • Try to get as many bites out of each mouthful of food as you can. This will help overeating by giving your stomach the time to tell your brain that you are full.
  • Between bites try putting down your fork. How many times have you caught yourself getting the next forkful of food and you haven’t even finished chewing what you have in your mouth?
  • Be critical and examine your food from a health standpoint—was it the best choice? Will you feel good or bad when you finish your meal? Did it nourish your body?
  • Drink mindfully during your meal. It can be difficult for the body to tell the difference between hunger and thirst. If you’re feeling an acute sense of hunger, you might just be dehydrated.

Our food should be our medicine and our medicine should be our food. ~ Hippocrates

The benefits of eating mindfully are overwhelming and practiced regularly can promote wellness for years to come.

Taking the time to really taste your food and enjoy it will often times lead to weight loss if you are overweight. As well, if you continually fuel your body with wholesome food you will support an active and energetic lifestyle.

Begin today to learn how to promote mindfulness when eating and really enjoy your meal. Will the changes come easily? No, probably not. Will they be worth it? Yes, without a doubt!

I am a corporate wellness consultant. As a master yoga instructor, I support in-house wellness programs, seminars, trade shows and executive retreats. I help business leaders build and maintain physical and mental well-being. If you would like to learn more about offering a health and fitness program to your busy management team contact me at [email protected] or 386.871.0582

 

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