Easing into mindful eating
Mindfulness refers to being attentive in the present, doing just one activity at a time and simply being aware of thoughts and sensations, without judgement.
We can all be mindful, but because we’re time poor and distractions are frequent and we tend to juggle multiple tasks. To add to that, overwhelming to-do lists and responsibilities can make it difficult to focus solely on what’s happening in the moment. As a result of our busy society, the demand for convenience is high. Pre-packaged and fast food is increasingly sought after and eating has become a common source of unhappiness and poor health. Perhaps one reason for this is that as a collective, we’ve forgotten how to be present and many of us eat mindlessly.
From reading up on trending diets to writing a weekly shopping list, we pay a significant amount of attention to what we eat, but comparatively very little to how we go about it. Mindful eating is about slowing down, becoming more aware of our habits around food and making meal time a ritual.
Eating mindfully helps us to tune in more closely to what our bodies are telling us about hunger and satisfaction and research suggests that paying more attention to how we eat supports a more positive relationship with food, allowing time for us to recognise the difference between physical and emotional hunger, too.
The brain can take up to twenty minutes to register feeling full, so slowing down at meal time could help us feel satiated before we overeat. According to Harvard Health, mindful eating can help with weight management and encourages healthier food choices.
To make mindful eating easier, you might want to ease into it by eating one meal a day in a more thoughtful way. Here are some simple suggestions to help you introduce more mindfulness to your meals:
Before you start eating, take a moment to acknowledge where your food came from and the labour that went into providing your meal.
Eat from a plate:
It might sound obvious, but when we’re in a rush it’s all too easy to eat from a takeout box or bag, which can make it difficult to keep portion sizes in check.
Our lives are full of distractions, and it’s not uncommon to eat meals while watching a movie or scrolling through emails. Consider treating meal time as an electronics free event and if you can, try to eat in silence.
Chew 25 times:
Make sure that each mouthful is chewed completely before taking another bite. Committing to a number of chews before swallowing might help to slow you down. Putting your fork down between each bite could help too.
Eat snacks that take work:
Try a meal or snack that takes a little bit of work to eat such as seeded grapes, pistachios or an orange. Avoiding seeds, breaking a shell or peeling an orange will help to keep you attentive and will mix up the actions associated with eating.
If you have any tried and true suggestions you’d like to add, please leave us a comment below.