When life gets chaotic, it’s easy to place eating at the bottom of our list of priorities. Eating on the go, snacking at our desks, and skipping meals can become daily instances. However, eating is about much more than just giving our body nutrients. It can be the perfect occasion to get grounded and tune into our body and mind. This is where mindful eating can be helpful.
Mindful eating encourages curiosity, awareness, and compassion. It’s based on the idea our body possesses incredible wisdom. Tuning into its messages can help us make satisfying, nourishing, and pleasurable food choices. If you are new to mindful eating, it may seem overwhelming or intimidating.
These 3 tips may help you get started…
1. Check-in before eating.
Part of being a mindful eater is to be curious about the eating experience. Before diving into your meal, ask yourself some questions:
- How hungry am I on a scale of 1 to 10?
- What emotions am I experiencing?
- Which foods does my body want?
These questions are not meant to make us eat less or increase guilt or shame. Instead, being curious about our present situation helps us eat more intentionally.
2. Try taking one mindful bite.
When we are used to having quick meals with distractions, the idea of eating an entire meal in silence can be frightening or even triggering. To ease into mindful eating, try bringing awareness to the first bite of meals and snacks.
During this bite, use all of your senses. Be attentive of the food’s flavour, texture, and smell. Observe how the texture changes as you chew. Notice if this food brings you pleasure and satisfaction.
3. Alternate eating and reading.
If you like reading or working while eating, try doing these activities alternately. For example, read a page, turn your gaze away from your book, eat a few bites, read another page, and so on. This allows you to eat your meal mindfully while spacing it out with other pleasurable activities. Mindful eating isn’t an all-or-nothing approach.
The bottom line:
While mindful eating is usually a positive and beneficial practice, it can be easy to make the concepts into rules, therefore turning it into a diet.
Remember, mindful eating is flexible and built in non-judgement. There is no right or wrong way to eat mindfully. Practice curiosity while eating and find what works best for you.