March 21, 2014

The Dramatic Dance of Mindful Eating for Well-being.

Photo: Flickr/Chris Booth

I enjoy the freedom to eat whatever I want, when I want, with no bingeing and no remorse.

I am in the moment. Frolicking on every bite, I remain present through it all.

When I choose to eat , it’s like going on a date with someone, only that someone is me.

I ask myself what, why, where, when and how. It feels like a dramatic dance most of the time, but through a deeper level of awareness, consciousness and operating on a higher frequency than I used to, I’ve learned to date myself with each meal.

I’ve learned to lean in closer to me, to live in tune to the beat of the drum, to exist intuitively and to practice every act with mindfulness. So, before I eat, I ask myself these questions:

What will you eat today?
Why are you eating?
How are you going to be eating?
When are you eating?
Where are you eating?

I know that this dramatic dance I perform with myself is needed, mindful and it keeps me grounded. I know it keeps me being present, it watches out for me during my sorry points and I know it will help you.

Here’s the reason why I have this relationship with myself and food:

1. What I eat:

I have learned that there are absolutely no rules except that I should feed my body with nourishing foods that keep me healthy and well. So before you eat next time, pay close attention to what’s on your plate—is it nourishing you?

2. Why I eat:

Why am I eating what is on my plate? Is it because I am hungry or angry? Happy or sad? Lonely, perhaps? Or I’ve just had a bad day? Whichever reason is it, questioning whether food is the answer is a savior from emotional eating and unnecessary weight gain.

I do this from a mindful and self-accepting place and not a judgmental place. Our ability to practice this will create an ultimate sense of awareness and will help us connect deeper with ourselves. Better still, it will help us to ditch eating for the wrong reasons—we can get that hug from a loved one instead, call a friend or go out for a healing walk; engaging this way will disconnect us from habits that might lead to emotional eating.

3. When I eat:

I realize it is important to practice being aware of the time of day I am eating. Late night snacking, skipping breakfast, or eating heavy dinners too close to bed time are all factors that affect nutrition.

So again, remember to check in with yourself for timing. Pay close attention to when you eat the most or the least; a food journal could be helpful for this.

I’ve realized that when we are in tune with our food rhythms, we will ultimately decide if they’re serving us well or not. Simply by checking in with ourselves, when we eat at these times, we can inquire: how do I feel and how is my mood afterward. The time of day we eat is important to our well being.

4. Where I eat:

Habits such as eating on the go or making an habit of eating in the car can affect our well-being. When was the last time you sat at a beautiful dining table to have a good meal? The energy our body receives from the environment while we eat affects our nutrition. It’s simple: I feel less nourished eating in the car or in a crowded and noisy place compared to eating in my home comfortably.

Imagine how nourished you will feel eating on the dining table over candlelight with a clean, serene space? Practice this act of minding your environment when you eat, and try to do it as often as you can!

5. How I eat:

I try to practice good posture while eating. Of course my favorite part is fancying up my eating process by using my best dishware just because, turning off the television and making eating a quality experience, not just time to stuff my belly. I practice consciously chewing food, drinking water while eating and slowing down the experience by using my orange chop sticks or placing my fork down after each bite.

Next time we decide to eat, let’s make it an intimate relationship with self and food.

Set it up as a date and experience every minute of the process. May you feel nourished after every meal!

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Flickr/Chris Booth

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