I know you've heard the buzzwords. We're told we need to eat mindfully, but what does that really mean? I've broken it down into six easy steps, and I think after you read and practice them you'll come to realize how easy, and beneficial it can be in your day to day.
Check in with yourself. Take a few moments to close your eyes and bring awareness to areas of the body where you feel stress. Take a few breaths in to the count of four, and exhale to the count of four filling your belly with deep cleansing breaths. Now soften the areas of tension the best you can and prepare yourself to begin eating mindfully. Sometimes, taking a full breath (or three) before meals, or saying a prayer or having a moment of gratitude can help to set the stage for mindful eating.
Focus your intentions on your food, no matter what it is, you'll find no judgement here with me. Unwrap it, cut it or stir it slowly while paying close attention to the act of doing it.
Place your utensils or the food down between bites. Place your hands in a comfortable position off the table such as resting them in your lap.
Consider the route your food took to get to you and the many hands that helped to bring it to your table. Give thought to where it came from. Is it veggies from your garden? Dessert from your favorite restaurant?
Savor the taste and aroma of your food and delight in the sight and texture! Are the colors lovely? Is it crunchy or silky? Can you smell the different ingredients? Think of this like a wine tasting and engage your senses.
Flip the phone over or remove it from the table. Avoid multitasking while eating—that email or social media ping can wait!
Eating mindfully doesn't mean you need to have a perfectly balanced meal full of only the most nutritious foods. That sounds great but let's get real, it doesn't happen at every meal! The goal of mindful eating isn't about the food itself, it's about our relationship with the food we eat and taking the time to slow down and be cognizant of it.
Try to practice one step each day, moving into all the steps after a week. Write down how you felt after you ate. Did you feel fuller faster? Did you enjoy it more? Did you notice anything different about the foods you ate? It all comes with practice, so I hope you'll give mindful eating a try soon. Please feel free to share your experiences!