We live in a non-stop world a world where people take pride in their multi-tasking skills. I believe there is a time and place for multi-tasking, but there is also a place we should just stop and be more present. That place is mealtime.
Do you remember the last thing you ate? I mean really remember. What were the colors, textures, smells and tastes of your meal? Unless you were really paying attention, savoring every bite you might not remember anything about the meal other than it “hit the spot” and you now can move on to other things. If that’s describes you then you might want to consider experimenting with a practice that is bringing enjoyment back to mealtimes.
Mindful eating is all about slowing down, paying attention to the intricate details of the food you are eating and being present throughout the entire meal. That means no texting, checking emails, scrolling through Facebook, or catching up on your favorite sitcom. Have you ever sat down to the TV or computer with a meal or a snack and found yourself reaching into the empty bowl and wondering, “Did I really finish it all already?” More often than not when that happens you may reach for another serving. According to Jan Chozen Bays, author of Mindful Eating, “When we don’t pay attention to what we’re eating, we don’t really taste it, and then it’s as if we didn’t eat it, so we want more.”
Mindful eating will also help us show more gratitude. We may take for granted the food we eat, where it came from or how it will nourish our body, build new tissue or strengthen our immune system. If we aren’t paying attention we may not recognized that is may be causing disease, damaging tissue and weakening our immune system. I know that if we were to bring more mindfulness to our meals we would feed our bodies better. When we slow down and pay attention to our food we will begin to notice cues that we get when we eat. Big cues like the feelings of hunger, thirst and being full as well as the subtle cues like how a food affects us physically or even emotionally. These cues can help us decide things like; when, how much, if, and what we want to eat.
In our busy world taking time to be mindful may take some practice. If you are always doing something else while you eat you will need to make a conscious effort to slow down and remove distractions while you eat. In the last couple decades there has even been research done to prove how beneficial this can be. Some of these benefits include; reducing overeating, binge eating, improvement in the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes, improved body image, weight loss, and even benefits to psychological disorders.
My Mindful Eating Pledge:
During my next meal, I will take time to be mindful. I will enjoy the aroma, the tastes, textures and colors of my meal. As I chew each savory bite I will think about how that food will benefit and nourish my body and I will remember to express gratitude.
How do you practice mindful eating?