November 6, 2014

Eating Mindfully with Others.

full mouth

Four tips to help you eat mindfully with others.

I can’t tell you how many times I have gone out to eat with friends and thought to myself, “This is bad—this is the opposite of mindful eating. How can I possibly have a conversation while I’m eating? I just ate way too much and didn’t even realize it. I can’t go out to eat with friends anymore, it’s just counter-productive.”

But I believe that food is more than just calories and nutrients, it is family, culture, history, relationships and more. I choose to embrace eating as opposed to sacrificing many beautiful moments and connections that make this life so magical.

I am not the only one who eats more while dining with friends. In fact, according to Psychology Professor John DeCastro, if you eat with anther person, you’ll eat about 35 percent more than you would otherwise.

Despite this startling fact, it is possible to eat mindfully and healthfully while dining with friends and loved ones.

Here are four tips to help you mindfully eat with others.

Set your intention.

Remind yourself about what’s important to you, what you want to happen and set an intention that supports it.

“I intend to enjoy dining with my friend tonight and I intend to eat mindfully and healthfully”.

According to professional Neuro-linguistic Programming coaches, Kris and Tim Hallborn,

“Setting your intent plays a key role in encouraging your subconscious mind to bring forth a desired goal, as well the most optimal future. Intending for something to happen will generally associate you into the experience of achieving your goal and all the feelings, images and sounds that go with it”.

Make mindful decisions in a temptation free setting.

If possible, browse the menu online and decide what you are going to eat. Choosing the grilled vegetable platter with quinoa is much easier when you aren’t feeling overwhelmed and tempted by the restaurant’s scent of freshly baked bread.

Check in with your body.

How hungry are you? Dr. Brian Wansink recommends pre-regulating consumption by deciding how much to eat prior to the meal instead of during the meal.

Put the fork down.

You know the person who always finishes last because they are just so enthralled in the conversation?

Be that person.

We all know it’s bad manners to talk with our mouth full, right?

Putting the fork down will enable you to fully engage socially and slow down your pace.

Talk about it.

Talking about your meal with someone is an opportunity to practice mindfulness. Jules Clancy, author of And The Love is Free suggests turning the focus of the conversation onto the meal while you are actually eating.

Share what you are experiencing in terms of flavors and textures, likes and dislikes.

We don’t have to sacrifice special moments with others. The choice is ours.

Employing these four tips can help you eat mindfully with others, nourishing not only your mindful-eating habits but also your relationships.


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Author: Gara Steinfield

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: flickr


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