I have always eaten fast. Food was a quick source of energy to just keep going through the day. Who has time to relax when you eat? Well, that kind of thinking has lead me to the delightful side effects of indigestion, heartburn and more. If we are trying to be mindful through our work day and family time, then surely the moments in which we find the energy to do those things should also be mindful.
Mindful eating is aiming to focus your awareness of that moment and how you feel internally. It is meant to be a time to celebrate the joy of food and the pleasure in eating it. This includes not judging what you eat, instead take the time to be still with your meal and savour it, not gulp it down in order to get to your next 'stressful' task you need to do today. So let's do a few things to put you in the mindful frame of mind for eating. Firstly before you eat, stop and ask yourself how am I feeling? Am I truly hungry, or tired, bored, stressed or worried about something?Food can sometimes be a coping mechanism so before we hunker down on a meal, let's ask how will this make me feel after? Better or worse?!Now let's set the scene, turn off the TV, radio and put your phone on silent or plane mode,think of the meal as a date with yourself. Focus on enjoying the food or the company you might have, a partner, friend or even colleague.Now slow down, take a bite at a time and put your fork or utensil down after each bite,pay attention to your food, notice the texture, colour and flavour. Breath and relax, try and eat your meal in 20minutes. Yes, you can take 20 minutes to eat. Don't you deserve that? If you are still going fast, then think about where the food came from, how hard the farmer worked to get the produce made, be grateful. Grateful you have it and appreciate it.Now I don't know about you, but if it's a particularly delicious meal or I'm having a 'bad' day (we all have them) I might go for a second portion.
I don't actually need it. I just saw it and thought, let's not waste it. I sometimes do this with my kids meals, eating their perfectly fine left overs, but STOP yourself.
Have a clear table, no extra serving bowls etc to be seen so the temptation isn't there or try eating of a smaller plate, then if you have a bit more, it's not so bad, or you might find you're satisfied with less. This isn't about dieting by the way and I am not a dietician, it's about being mindful when we do a very important thing which is to fuel our body.
Let's give it respect and care, like we do our car or home. Once I started to slow down and focus on my food, the love I put into it, the taste and colour, I was feeling better, calmer and even my kids ate better, a mindful table is a relaxed one by design.
Food is fun so if you only try and eat mindfully at one meal per week, great, just try, what can you lose?
* Please note, I'm not a qualified psychologist or dietician, all themes in this blog are just my beliefs from my personal experience and research. If you feel you need medical help always seek a qualified expert.