Mindful eating is about being present with your food, being fully aware of the flavors and textures. Most importantly, mindful eating is about focusing all of your attention on your food without distractions.
Mindful eating is not a diet. It is not about counting calories or judging the food that you eat. It is about being fully present with what you eat. Studies have shown that people who practice mindful eating do tend to lose weight, but this is not generally the goal of mindful eating.
Do you remember your last meal? Or did you mindlessly consume it while multitasking at your desk, phone, or TV?
Our lives have become quite hectic. The increasing expectation that emails need to be answered within an hour and that every phone call or text message is urgent contributes to a feeling of spreading ourselves too thin. As a consequence, meals are often pushed aside or rushed through as a hurdle on the path to doing more work.
Consequences of mindless eating
“On-the-go” meals have been framed as a convenient solution to our hectic lives. We frequently approach food habitually, rather than as an opportunity to gratefully nurture our bodies with the sustenance it regularly requires. What happens when we mindlessly gobble down food just to “fill our tank” to continue working? The choices we make about what we allow into our bodies become less conscious and often unhealthy.
For example, you feel like you need a quick energy boost so you grab a chocolate bar to quench that feeling of hunger and fatigue. Or perhaps you go for another cup of coffee to make it through the next meeting.
When you can’t count how many cups of coffee you have in one day or can’t even distinguish between good and bad coffee anymore, you’ve been consuming it mindlessly. With substances like sugar and caffeine, there is a risk of addiction through mindless consumption. This physical need for a certain substance can be overcome with mindfulness.
Every meal doesn’t need to center around a burst of pleasurable sensations. However, by not taking the time to fully experience the sacred act of eating and hydrating our body, we develop unhealthy relationships with these vital parts of our life.
How to practice mindful eating
There are many benefits to eating mindfully. You get to enjoy your food and spend some quality time away from the busyness of the day. Your overall relationship with food will also improve as you will start to make more conscious, healthier choices.
Even if you usually opt for healthy on-the-go options, but don’t take the time to appreciate your food, you are not doing justice to yourself or honoring all the miraculous conditions that made the meal possible.
Here are a few tips to practice mindful eating:
- Prepare your meals. Knowing exactly which ingredients you used in your meals can make you more aware of the quality and flavor of the food.
- Ask yourself whether you are actually hungry and whether your choice of food is the right kind/amount for the occasion.
- Eliminate any distractions such as phones and TVs.
- Invite a sense of heartfelt gratitude for the meal.
- Eat slowly and chew thoroughly.
- Consider everything that went into this meal being available to you. Everything from sunlight to the grocery store checkout or restaurant server. Can you sense the cosmos in each bite or swallow?
- Focus on how the food makes you feel.
- Stop eating when you feel full.
How can you accelerate your practice of developing mindfulness and gain a completely new outlook on life? In addition to personalized coaching, AllBe offers transformative courses to help you regain the connection, strength, optimism, and confidence to fully embrace a purposeful and meaningful life.