Practicing mindfulness is something I’ve tried to do for many years. It’s not easy, but if I pay attention then it helps me become more mindful in all areas of my life. When I prepare a meal for myself, I try to make sure it has a lot of color, texture, and flavor.
This is important because it allows me to take in the presentation of the dish before I begin to eat. I slowly pick up my fork and take a small bite and chew very slowly to taste every flavor, and to experience the texture. The taste and flavor are better than the presentation, and I’m wondering if this is because I am able to slow down my eating and practice mindfulness. It could also be what I chose to pay attention to at that time, it could change as far as what was important to me at the next meal.
Practicing mindful eating is about being present, not being in the future or the past but being in the moment. When you practice mindful eating then you have the opportunity to not overeat, to be satisfied and to digest the food you consume.
Practicing mindful eating is important at any time of year. It’s tougher during the holidays because we tend to have a lot going on, however it may be the best time to practice it.
I was fortunate to be trained by the Benson Harvard Program on mindfulness about 15 years ago. I learned a lot, but what stands out for me is that the more I can stay present in my body, the better my choices are.
I am not able to always sit down during the day and start meditating or take a 20-minute silent break, but if I practice how to be present when I’m actually engaged then I can make better food choices and I can slow down eating and feel full and my stomach can digest my food which helps with supporting a healthy metabolism.
Mindless eating is:
When you ignore your body signals, in other words, you eat past fullness.
Eating over feelings
Eating while you are doing other activities
Eating a meal in 5 minutes
Practicing mindful eating involves getting in touch with choices and letting go of mindless chatter that takes you away from the food, texture, color, and taste and puts you in control of your choices.
With mindful eating, you start to pay attention to the food, instead of eating mindlessly which would be eating unconsciously, not tasting your food and not really remembering 15 minutes later what you consumed. You learn to pay attention to what emotions might be triggered. You are able to distinguish between healthy and not so healthy foods. You start to pay attention to how the food makes you feel as you taste it, as you digest it, and throughout the day. You start to tune into your emotions during and after eating.
When you are mindful you actually start to enjoy the experience of eating and as a result, you begin to be present in every situation of your life beyond just eating mindfully, you are mindful in all aspects of your life.
Remember every day to choose mindfulness eating, the benefits are worth it!
Have a wonderful, mindful holiday.