what is it?
Mindful eating involves paying full attention to the experience of fueling your body - inside & out, allowing you to fully appreciate the food you eat & absorb all the goodness that it's meant to provide you.
It not only helps you to build a healthy relationship with food & your body, it also works wonder for your digestion & increases the level of satisfaction you feel after eating.
So….how does one become a "mindful" eater?
Luckily, it’s not that difficult.
Here are 6 simple tips to help you get started on your journey to becoming a more mindful eater:
1. Bless your food
Before eating, take a moment to place your hands over your meal & imagine that you're infusing it with love & white, healing light.
Express gratitude for fact that you're able to give your body the gift of nourishment & that you have access to foods that are delicious, healthy & safe to eat.
Set your intention for eating & specify all the good things that you'd like to bring into your body with each bite.
2. Pay attention to your emotions before/during/after eating
Being aware of how you're feeling before, during & after you eat is key to avoiding things like emotional eating, poor digestion & post-meal guilt or anxiety.
Try not to eat if you're stressed out or upset.
Being upset while choosing what you're going to eat can cause you to make choices based off of your current emotional state, rather than what would best serve your body at the time. This can lead to emotional eating & cause you to turn to that food as a way to distract yourself from fully feeling that emotion whenever it arises.
Eating while you're stressed also affects your digestion because your body is in the "fight or flight" stage, where things like digesting food are put on hold. This can cause issues such as bloating, poor absorption, slow digestion & stomach pain.
Take a few moments to breathe deeply & calm down before choosing what you eat & sitting down to eat it.
Paying attention to how you feel after you eat is also important.
- Do you feel energized or sluggish?
- Overly full or unsatisfied?
- Light or heavy?
- Nourished or guilty?
- Happy or sad?
*Try keeping 24 hour log of the things you eat & how you felt before, during & after eating them.
How do your emotions affect your food choices & vice versa?
3. Don't multitask, be present
Turn off the T.V, step away from the desk, close the book, shut the computer screen, put the phone down...
& just eat.
When we stare at a screen while we eat we often end up eating more than we were hungry for & feeling overly full...or eating & not feeling satisfied at all.
Actually seeing your food diminish from your plate helps your brain make the connection between the amount of food you consumed and the level of fullness you feel.
- Take the time to savor the flavors, textures & smells of the food you're eating.
- Take smaller bites & chew your food all the way.
- Watch each bite as it leaves your plate & enters your mouth.
Fully engage in the experience of eating & enjoy it!
4. Make a sacred space
Instead of eating at a messy table, in your car, at your desk or on the couch...act like you're taking yourself out on a date.
- Clear a spot at the table & light a candle.
- Find a quiet spot at a park.
- Use real dishes & utensils.
- Play some music.
- Limit distractions.
Make it easy for yourself to be at peace & present while you enjoy your meals.
5. Prepare more meals yourself
You never know what kind of energy the people at restaurants or fast food places may have while they're preparing your food - it's most likely low vibration & rushed.
When you take the time to prepare your own meals, you are infusing them with love.
By thoughtfully choosing the ingredients & taking the time to put them together, you're putting energy into taking care of yourself & your body.
Cooking at home & preparing meals ahead of time can also help you eat healthier, save money, sharpen your cooking skills & feel more appreciative of your food!
6. Set your intention to love
Fueling your body with loving intention allows you to develop a healthy relationship with food & connect with your shell on a deeper level.
When you set your intention to love, you're more likely to make choices that best serve you & your body.
- Eating becomes a ritual rather than a chore
- You choose foods that NOURISH you & make you feel good.
- You consume them in a way that allows you to fully appreciate them & what they're doing for you
- You feel grateful rather than guilty
- You work with your body & mind, rather than feeling like they're completely disconnected
In what ways could you benefit from becoming a more mindful eater?
This week, try incorporating even just one “mindful” meal or snack into your day & see how you feel.
And don’t beat yourself up if you zone out, eat too fast or forget to chew a bite all the way.
It’s not as easy as it sounds in the beginning!
Be patient with yourself & just keep practicing.
Good luck & happy mindful eating!