Nowadays a lot of people eat on the go or in front of the laptop/television.
We have lost connection with our body and don’t recognise cues such as hunger and satiation any more. We just eat when we want to, what we want to and sometimes we don’t even know why we’re doing it.
That’s why it is a good idea to take a step back from our eating patterns to look at the things we eat and why and how we eat them.
Mindful Eating teaches us to break certain habits we created (such as eating in front of the television, eating a bag of crisps when we watch a movie, eating chocolate when we’re sad or pmsing…). By staying mindful when we are eating we will learn to listen to and act according to the signals our bodies are sending us.
I became interested in mindfulness with regard to eating when I started practising meditation and learned that mindfulness can help us battle emotional eating.
Yes, there are endorphins in chocolate and those will help you to feel a bit better sometimes…
But wouldn’t you feel much better if you were able to savour a small piece of chocolate and satisfy those (emotional) cravings rather than still feel unsatisfied and unhappy after wolfing down an entire bar of chocolate and a packet of cookies. I know I would sign for it!
Mindfulness helps us pay attention to our body signals and hunger cues, but it also makes us able to notice the effect certain types of food have on our body.
When eating mindful, you will learn to enjoy your food more and ultimately will eat less. Paying better attention to our hunger cues will also do our digestive system good.
Here are some of the tips featured in Flow Magazine with regard to eating mindful:
1. Start small: choose one meal or snack you will try to eat mindful and built it up from here
2.Eat at a table and no eating when on the go
3. Eat with other people: you will enjoy your food more when you’re able to share it with others
4. Eat with knife and fork, make small portions
5. Quality over quantity
It’s amazing how even a stupid little thing like a cherry tomato is filled to the brim with flavours when you start to pay attention to it
Things that also worked for me:
1. Eat with your eyes close the first couple of times you try it
2. Focus on one aspect first: one flavour, the flavours as a whole, texture, different components… when this is going okay, focus on more of these aspects
3. Try to identify the different components/flavours and how they match
4. Draw an exclamation mark or a cross on your right hand, you will see this when you start eating and it will remind you that you’re supposed to be mindful