If you’re anything like the rest of the world, right now, you are probably sitting around at home and could be just throwing everything you see in your mouth! Wow, at the amount of food people are consuming as almost a coping mechanism to make it through the “new world” we’ve run into. There is a way around that though!
No, I’m not talking about going on a diet. I’m talking about being present in what you are doing. Its all about being mindful. What is Mindfulness? Well, you can read more at a previous Mindfulness Series blog but it is paying attention to what is going on around us in a way that allows us to respond rather than react. By stuffing our faces, we are reacting. We are not thinking about what we are doing and we are just jumping to some sort of reaction. Responding as a way of eating is thinking through how we feel and making a decision of how we really want to act as a response to our feelings.
How do you mindfully eat?
By mindfully eating, we are taking food into our hand and noticing all of the things about it. You should notice its smell, touch, sight, sound, and give it a minute, we’ll get to that tasting part. Try this out on a strawberry. Of course you see it, but you can smell its sweetness and feel the ripples of the seeds on the outside of its skin. The sound of it can be heard as you place it into your mouth and begin to bite down. You can finally experience its taste. And once you do, you’ll think back through all of those senses again. You can notice the feel of the strawberry on your tongue, the sounds of you chewing, the smells from biting into it. As you do this, try cutting out your sight – close your eyes and just experience the strawberry.
Do you really want more?
I have adults try this with a Hershey kiss before – the tin wrapper, the smooth chocolate. They really didn’t even want to eat another piece of chocolate after that one just because they filled all of their needs in that one experience! Now, I’m not saying that you need to go into this much detail with every bite you take but eating mindfully is something you should try to practice.
It takes practice
Every time you lift your hand to your mouth, try and apply your senses to only that. Don’t start thinking about why you really should be eating quickly or what you have to do this afternoon. Try to push all of those thoughts away. It’s not bad that you’re having those thoughts, its just a natural habit that we tend to have. Every time you decide you’re “hungry” try to start with a mindful eating practice in mind. When your mind wanders, remind yourself of the taste, touch, smell of your food.
For a more detailed script of mindful eating, click here: Mindful Eating Fact Sheet.