Thursday, September 13, 2012

Mindful Eating - How to & Why to...

Food. What a beautiful thing yet, it can be so full of suffering for some... 

Those of you that know me and this blog know that historically, food has been something I have used to satisfy my mind rather than my appetite. I have also used it to try to fulfill an emotional void... key word: try, because that doesn’t work, by the way.

Food is something funny in our society. It’s funny because it is everywhere and seems to have multiple purposes. Think about it. When was the last time you celebrated, mourned, watched sports, had a “girls night” or “guys night”, had a meeting, attended a seminar or training, greeted a new neighbor, lent a hand to someone who has recently experienced loss... what is a common denominator in all of these varying events and circumstances? Yep, you guessed it... food.

I think a lot of us tend to lose appreciation of the food we consume. We simply skip the appreciation part, and we move right onto consumption. For a lot of people, their food consumption is on-the-go and moves quickly. 

Question: When was the last time you sat down and slowly ate bite by bite, morsel by morsel... when was the last time you actually experienced your food consumption? Ever? Do you even know what I mean by having a “food experience”?

Well, I have a project for you. It is a project I have done several times, and something that is always good to go back to and do again.

A Mindful Eating Experience


Step 1: Set yourself up with a plate of food. It can look like mine above, with a variety of foods, or it can be one meal you absolutely love.

Step 2: Sit down. Get comfortable. Get quiet. You may even want to play some serene and relaxing music while you prepare to truly enjoy and actually taste your food.

Step 3a: Eat one bite, one morsel at a time and do it slowly. Take note of the texture, the smell, the taste, the intensity, the bitter, the sweet, the sour, the savory... take note of every single aspect of each and every bite. 

Step 3b: Notice how you experience the food differently this way. Notice what you notice about the food items that you might not have noticed before. Pay attention to how this experience of eating is different from most times you consume the same or similar food items. Were there food items you didn’t enjoy as much as you thought you would? Were there food items you enjoyed more than you ever have before?

Step 4: Notice how you experience satisfaction. Notice how you feel as far as becoming full or feeling as though you have had enough and feel satisfied. Did you eat more than usual? DId you eat less than usual?

Step 5: How do you feel after your mindful eating experience?

I encourage you to take notes during this time. I encourage you to do this as often as possible. And, I encourage you to remember your feelings and your experience when you are in a time where you might feel more out of control in your eating, or when you feel you might be eating to quickly or to “on-the-go”. 

I challenge you to consider how you can take this experience and use the memories and what you have learned about what being mindful can do for your overall experience and enjoyment with food.

Don’t just eat food. Enjoy food. 

Enjoying food is a whole lot more fulfilling the chewing and swallowing...

---> Stay tuned for the next blog on my own Mindful Eating Experience!

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