Do you ever pay attention to the quality of the food you put on your plate and the eating experience?
No, I’m not talking about the calories or the nutritional value.
I’m talking about the color, the texture, the smell, the consistency, the sound, the room where you eat and many more factors.
- Do you prefer food that is creamy or crunchy?
- Food with vibrant or calming colors?
- Sweet or tangy?
- Warm or chill?
- Eating at the table or somewhere else?
It’s true that we eat with our eyes first.
I encourage you to consider, though, that all the senses contribute to the eating experience, not only the taste and sight.
For this reason, let me invite you to practice with one mindful meal.
Who is this practice for?
The practice is for everyone.
Consider it to be particularly useful if you’re dealing with emotional eating or you’ve been switching from one diet to the other.
Dieting and the urge to eat out of an emotion are behaviors that notoriously cause disconnection with your body and the ability to read the signals.
What will I get from it?
- A 360 degrees eating experience, more fulfilling and in tune with your body needs.
- You might discover you are full before finishing all the food on your plate, and that you want to save it for later instead of overeating and feeling uncomfortable.
- With continued practice, you might decide to change some details of the way you currently experience food as you’ll discover they no longer satisfy you.
- You might find that some food you now consider less appealing starts to taste much better or that food you’d normally crave no longer tastes as good after a few bites.
How does it work?
First try and create an environment which is conducive to be more present to what you are eating:
- Carefully choose the place where you are going to eat. Make sure it’s not too cluttered.
- Eliminate distraction such as TV, smartphones (I know hard one!!), books and laptop (get away from the desk, please!).
- Set the table in the way you would normally do or choose to make it more special for this occasion (use your creativity!).
When you seat at the table, take a couple of deep breaths before taking the fork in your hand. This will help you ground yourself and be more receptive.
As you eat, notice with each bite, one or more of the following:
> how the color and presentation of the food affects your appetite and desire to eat it;
> the table setting and how itaffects your eating experience;
> the taste of food and its changes as you chew and swallow;
> the sounds around you and from you
> what is the temperature of the food
You do not need to eat slowly to eat mindfully. However, slowing down the pace can make it easier for you to be present and notice the different nuances of what you experience through your meal.
Reflecting on your experience.
Once you finish your meal, reflect of the experience.
It might help to ask yourself:
- Did I struggle to remain present to your meal?
- What did I notice that was different from my previous meals, if anything?
- What of this experience I might take with me in the next meals?
- Is there anything I did not like?
If you take the time to try this at least once this week, then you should congratulate yourself for gifting yourself with the experience a mindful meal.
It is possibly one of the most important forms of mindful living, bringing long terms benefits to your health and wellbeing.
Would you like sharing about this and other issues with like-minded women and doing some journaling together?
Why not joining The Mindful Body Women Circle? It’s a group support for women who want to increase the confidence in their body, and learn to enjoy eating again, without guilt.
Click here if you’d like to find out more!