Life tip #21: Eat mindfully


Happy Monday and week to all of you! Lately I’ve been thinking about eating mindfully on a daily basis, about midway through each meal. I first heard about mindful eating in an article on Care2 (I’m betting it was one of these great articles: How to Become an Intuitive Eater, Mindful Eating and Tuning Into Your Uniqueness8 Mindful Eating Practices) and had one of those “how did I not know/think about this?!” moments. It seems like such an obvious thing to do, but for some reason it’s not taught in schools or shown anywhere in shows, movies, etc. Instead we see kids and adults alike shoving food down their mouths almost as quick as possible and speed eating competitions are glorified.

Today while eating my soup I realized that I wasn’t eating mindfully (I find it more difficult to eat soup mindfully since it’s mostly liquid) and knew I needed to share this life tip today and have it up as a constant reminder for myself. We’ve all heard that we should chew our food ___ number of times, but by doing that you’re paying attention to the number of chews rather than what you’re chewing. Food is our main source of energy and should be seen as a pleasure rather than a chore. If you’d rather not mindfully eat the meal in front of you, chances are you probably don’t want to be eating it at all.

Mindful eating is about truly paying attention to what you’re eating and how it affects your body. It makes eating more pleasant and gives you time to realize when you are full so that you don’t overeat. If you haven’t ever done this, I highly recommend that you mindfully eat your next meal (and hopefully most of the meals in your future).

The next meal that you eat, think about how it got to your plate (garden, farm, factory, transportation, preparation, etc.). Really look at what you’re eating. Smell it (I hope it smells good!). Take a bite and chew. Taste it, feel it in your mouth, and listen to the sound it makes as you chew. I know it sounds weird, but thinking of these five basic steps while eating really does make your meal more enjoyable. A great tip on eating mindfully to get the hang of it and to know how long you should chew between each bite is to put your fork/spoon down and wait the time that you’d normally take a drink from a cup and then pick your utensil back up. All done slowly, of course!

Have any of you ever eaten mindfully? Do you have any tips for others who’ve never tried it? Have you ever really paid attention to how you eat?

A couple other articles worth checking out on eating mindfully: 10 simple tips to live happy, wild, and free and 5 steps to enjoying the art of eating alone.

Comments

Krystal/Village
4 July 2011 - 21:02

I realllly need to be doing this lately…I haven’t exercised in like a month!

Caroline
4 July 2011 - 22:39

I’m honored you linked to my article!

Yes, I would say it gets easier and easier the more used to paying attention you are- it is definitely is a learned habit.

And my biggest tip would be, think of eating experience as a luxury, then it is pleasurable AND mindful :)

Brandi {not your average ordinary}
5 July 2011 - 00:59

I have so been working on this lately. I realized the biggest problem was that I was constantly “multitasking” by eating in front of my computer or the television. I’m getting better about it (though I’ve been doing some eating and driving lately). And today, I’ve forced myself out of my hotel room to try one of the best vegan restaurants in the city. I’ve found that being at a restaurant alone really allows me to eat mindfully and put all my focus on my food (and myself). And thanks for the article links! I’m checking all of those out.

Tajna
5 July 2011 - 01:16

This is something I have been working on since the start of the year.Taking time,at least 20 minutes if I can,to sit,savor the food,chew thoroughly,not in a rush at all.No shoveling food in while watching a movie/surfing the web/talking on the phone/etc.It changes your whole palate,perspective on food,and on your daily intake.I am so grateful for food to begin with,and it’s a step in the right direction!
We should honor ourselves and the planet by:
-eating as much organic,local produce as possible
-eating only when hungry
-making enough grains/beans to last a few days,instead of cooking new batches every day
-if you really want a dessert,make a delicious raw one,or have fruit.All those processed deserts are not delicious after all!
Thanks for posting this topic,great minds think alike! :-)

Marjorie Rose
5 July 2011 - 02:41

Very good reminder! I’ve done it both ways– eaten mindfully and in a definite hurry. The first way is much more enjoyable for sure. But I think the reality for me is a cross between the two. I do try to enjoy the experience of it all and relish every bite..

Meghan @ Wishful Thinking
5 July 2011 - 11:28

It’s not an understatement when I say that my life revolves around food! I’d like to think I eat mindfully but I am guilty of eating lunch or dinner too late and then just eating anything because I am too hungry to care. The experience is never satisfying and I always end up feeling hungry afterwards anyway. This is a fantastic reminder to really think about what you are putting into your body, and more importantly, what you get out of your food.

Hannah (Culture Connoisseur)
5 July 2011 - 17:09

I just read an article or two on intuitive eating last week. They are great principles to live by to enjoy life and stay healthy! Dieting may be a way to lose weight but it’s also so hard on our minds and our emotions. Throwing everything off wack. It’s best to practice mindful eating, like you said.

I’ve always eaten mindfully. People laugh at me because it’s a family practice to pray to thank God before eating. And I always laugh and say “I don’t need to…I thank him enough as I enjoy each bite…”

Ashley
5 July 2011 - 23:52

With trips away from home and summer munching in full-swing I need to be a little more ‘mindful’. Thnx for the reminder.

Kyla
6 July 2011 - 14:41

Wow, great article! This is something I definitely don’t do…I try to eat healthy, but I never really eat “mindfully”…next time I eat something I am definitely going to spend more time actually using my senses to enjoy the food, rather than just my taste buds. Thanks for the great tips!

jennifer
6 July 2011 - 18:43

eva,

thanks for stopping by/commenting the blog! i’m happy to say i’ve already crossed off a couple of things on the summer list and have a few items jotted down for my fall to do list too! i think i may have one each season – it’s kind of nice having a little reminder :)

ps, great entry on eating mindfully! i found myself enjoying my food a bit more yesterday after reading this ;)

Colleen / Inspired to Share
7 July 2011 - 05:19

Ooh, this is good. I’m having one of those same “How did I not think about this?” moments right now! I went through a short phase where I made an effort to chew my foods to (almost) liquid, then fell out of it. I think it will help to focus on the senses that you’ve described here! Thanks.

Jules
7 July 2011 - 10:42

I pay a lot of attention to where my food comes from and I make almost all of it my myself, seldom buy food in packets…and I enjoy going to a farm each week to get my food and talk with the people that produce it…so that’s one connection that’s always there when I’m eating…

I try to put all of my focus on just my food when making dinner and I always try to make it as flavorsome as possible…but when actually eating my food I always get a bit distracted by music or something else on my computer…I need a bit more practice there…

Love, Jules

mariel
7 July 2011 - 19:01

This is so important, and I know I don’t nearly do it enough. It’s so tempting to turn on the TV during dinner sometimes, but I try to remind myself it can wait!

Elisa
8 July 2011 - 15:37

This is right up my alley right now, I just finished a very inspiring book about emotional eating and I have been trying to eat more mindfully myself!

Misty :)
14 July 2011 - 15:58

I definitely agree with this post! I have actually been doing this quite a bit lately (without even knowing it was “mindful eating” actually). Anytime I eat now, I make sure (beforehand) that it is something I want to eat, that I AM hungry, and that it is good for my body. Granted, there are times that I splurge and have a sugar craving and don’t do “mindful eating” but who doesn’t have those moments? lol But overall, I think I have done really well. I only eat when I’m hungry and once I realize I’m getting full, and I stop eating otherwise I will be miserable after I finish what I am eating. Not to mention, when I go to the grocery now, I make sure that everything I will be putting in my body is good for me and try as best as possible to go with the organic choices. I have found that eating healthier, when your actually hungry and not for the hell of it, I have a lot more energy during the day and feel a lot better overall. Although, you do recommend listening while you chew your food. I must say, I can’t do this. If it makes funny noises while I’m chewing I don’t think I’d be able to enjoy it as much lol I don’t know. I hear other people chewing some foods and it just sometimes grosses me out and I don’t want to get grossed out cuz of the noise it makes lol I may give it a try though! Other than what I have said, do you have any recommendations on how I can improve my mindful eating habits?

Eva
18 July 2011 - 13:27

Misty – I can’t really think of anything more to add to my post to make eating mindfully easier. I tried to include all I know about mindful eating in my post. Putting your utensil down after each bite, thinking of the senses, where your food comes from, no distractions, being focused on your food, eating slowly, drinking water with your meal, etc. etc.





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