With the holidays upon us, now is the perfect time to start eating mindfully. Mindfulness can help to reduce stress and bring more enjoyment to your life, and mindful eating can bring those same benefits to your meals. Mindful eating is not meant as a way to reduce food intake, but as a tool to support physical and emotional wellbeing. Food is more than simply fuel for our bodies, it is culture, convenience, connection, and so much more. Bringing mindfulness into our eating rituals can help to create more joy and ease around mealtimes.
Alaina from Nightingale College called in to teach Chantel and I how to eat mindfully!
How to begin
- Try to eat without distractions
- Put away technology and try to focus on your meal and those with whom you are dining.
- Check in with how hungry you feel before you begin eating
- Are you starving, overfull, or somewhere in between (feel free to rank this on a 1-10 scale)
- Set the intention of how full you’d like to be after you’re done eating
- Engage your senses as you observe your food
- How does the food smell, look, and maybe even feel
- What physical reactions are taking place in your body (mouthwatering, stomach growling, etc.)
- Slowly take a bite of your food and pay attention to how the food feels in your mouth
- Notice texture and taste
- Again, notice any reaction happening within your body and mind
- See if you can swallow intentionally
- Put your fork down between bites and repeat the process for each bite
- Once you’ve finished eating check in again with yourself. How full do you feel.
- Were you able to reach your fullness goal?
- No judgment either way, simply gathering information
Eating mindfully does not mean missing out on your favorite foods or restricting how much you eat; it is simply paying attention in the moment to how you feel and the foods you are eating. It takes the stomach about 20 minutes to send signals to the brain, so eating slowly and mindfully is the best way to catch those cues as they come in. Reduce stress and feel better through mindful eating.
For a mindful eating exercise do the raisin practice: