We live in a busy world. Multitasking is a necessity.
There is no time to sit down and simply eat.
We have forgotten how to give food the attention it deserves.
Studies show that you eat more and make less healthy choices when you’re unaware of yourself and your eating. If you eat while checking your mail or watching television you will likely eat more than is necessary by not being in touch with your true hunger.
Maybe this is why mindful eating is becoming more and more popular. But have you tried it? Do you know what is it and how it’s done?
Mindful eating is not about what you eat and it’s not a diet; it’s all about how you eat your food. Mindful eating helps you to be more aware about what you put in your mouth and in time helps you become more mindful throughout your life.
When you see small children eat they do it with such joy and enthusiasm. Children examine their food, get their fingers in it and take their time to eat. They eat when they are hungry and until they’re full. As adults, we’ve stopped doing that. More and more people don’t know when they are truly hungry or full. We eat looking for comfort and to reduce stress more than to nourish ourselves.
With mindful eating you can learn to recognize your physical hunger which is located in the stomach and distinguish the difference between this hunger and the mental hunger which is in your head.
Here are some tips to you getting you started down the path of mindful eating:
1. Make sure you have time for your meal and you can eat without any distractions. Eat your meal in silence. Forget what you think you know about the food you are about to eat. Open your mind and your senses.
2. Plate your dinner and take time to look at it. Imagine you have never seen it before. Notice the shape, the colors and how it presents itself.
3. Smell the food. See if you can get a picture of the taste based simply on the smell. Notice what the smell does to your mouth. Do you produce saliva, or maybe you get impatient and just want to eat it? Take your time and listen to your body. What is it telling you?
4. Take a bite and observe how you move your arm to your mouth. Be aware of your lips. Did the food touch your lips? Let the bite rest in your mouth for a moment and feel your impulse to chew it. Ignore it and see if you can taste any flavors without chewing.
5. Chew very slowly and very carefully. Observe the flavors, the textures and ignore the impulse to swallow. Chew for as long as you can while keeping your senses open. When you swallow be aware. Feel how your body reacts. Notice how the taste lingers in your mouth and the smell is still present in your nostrils.
6. Take a deep breath and when you are ready take another bite.
If, at first, the above is too challenging, then start by laying down your knife and fork between each bite when you eat dinner. Just remember, you are not allowed to pick them up before your mouth is completely empty.
Gitte Lindgaard lives in Denmark with her husband and two daughters. She has a degree in Nutrition and Health and specializes in empowering people to be aware and take responsibility for healthy living. Gitte practices yoga and after recovering from whiplash, she began teaching yoga to people with disabilities. Gitte believes in doing something every day that her future self will be proud of. Follow her on Twitter here.
Editor: Thaddeus Haas
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