Updated: Dec 5, 2021
Being a mindful eater in today's society can be one of the greatest challenges, especially when you can be pressured to act and feel a certain way around food. However, to put it in simplest terms food is fuel. To be able to have the energy to achieve goals in life and build relationships, we need to eat. Eating itself can become a stressor and a challenge when we become disconnected. However, learning to mindfully eat helps set-up the foundation for a positive relationship with food
Mindful eating is a practice which utilizes increased cognitive awareness before, during, and after a meal. This practice can be improved by including the following:
Taste, take a few moments to notice the flavors and the different tastes of the meal. An example being, spicy, sweet, savory, etc. Bringing full awareness to the tastes and appreciating the flavors that integrate the meal help heighten the experience of eating.
Aroma, what are the smells that you are noticing? Have you ever walked into a movie theatre and realized that you can taste the popcorn simply by the smell that permeates the room? Sense of smell is a powerful component of the eating experience and building recognition with food.
Speed, when we slow down, we give our physical and mental self the time to reconnect. While the act of chewing and swallowing takes a handful of seconds to minutes, digestion can take 20-30 minutes depending on the type and size of the meal. We have to give our body time to 'catch-up' to digest and metabolize and can do so by simply slowing down. If you typically eat your meal in 5-10 minutes, what would it feel like if you gave yourself 15-20 minutes?
Temperature, would ice cream be as enjoyable if it was warm? Taking note of the temperature of the food is a contribution to the eating event and highlights the enjoyability of several types of foods.
Environment, where you have your meals and with who you have your meals with can greatly affect the experience of the meal. Eating your meal in front of the tv or at your desk can make numbers 1-4 more challenging than if you choose to have your meals at a table with limited distractions.
To learn more on how to practice mindfulness and integrate it into your life, reach out to Enlighten Nutrition Counseling and Care, we are here to help.