I used to eat wherever: At my desk or on the couch, riding in the car, reading, watching a movie, or at my computer. I’ve stopped. Now I eat in the eating-place ~ at the table ~ if not at my table, at a table.
I’m eating mindfully, at least the majority of the time.
I sit down with my food, even if it’s a glass of veggie juice, take a good long look at it, thank the earth, the plants and animals, people who grew it, people who brought it to me, and whomever prepared it (even if that person is me). This may seem a little woo-woo, but it gives me the chance to come to the present moment and fully pay attention to what I’m doing.
There are lots of reasons for me (and you) to pay attention while eating.
- We enjoy the beauty and flavor of food more.
- We get to practice being in the present moment.
- It allows us the opportunity to slow down, making it easier to digest our food.
- We eat less.
- It brings us more in touch with our bodies and allows us to discover what works and what doesn’t.
- We are less likely to overeat, or eat again too soon, because we are aware that we ate.
Here are some hints for eating mindfully:
- Eat at the table. Enough said.
- Put the fork down between bites. Not having a utensil in our hand allows us to more fully enjoy the flavors in our mouth. It also fosters eating slowly.
- Make your food pretty – esthetics count.
- Chew each bite 30 times. Just try it. I average about 25 chews per bite. 30 are a stretch for me. By the way, 50 chews per bite is the optimal number.
- Clear the clutter. If there are piles of stuff on the table, put it away or at least move it to the other end during mealtime. Create a nice place to eat.
- Set the table. Even if you are eating alone, use a nice placemat or even the good dishes and a cloth napkin. It makes each meal feel special.
- Spend 20 minutes eating your meal. 20 minutes is enough time to experience the sensation of getting full. The goal is to stop when we are at 80%.
- When you cook your own food, think loving kind thoughts while preparing it. It will be easier to digest and you’ll absorb the nutrition better. (There’s no proof of this, but I love the idea of it anyway.)
I’m not perfect. I don’t manage to do all of these things at every meal, but I do give it my best shot more often than not. Eating mindfully feels like self-care to me now. And, when I pay attention, I enjoy my food and eat less. A win-win for sure.
Will you give any of these ideas a try? Let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear from you.
This blog is re-published from Health-Harvest.com.