Mindfulness can help to enhance many areas of your life – and your diet is no exception!Eating in a mindful way can help you to overcome bad dietary habits, such as over-eating, or making poor food choices. It can also help you to enjoy and appreciate each and every meal more. The following five tips are simple things that you can aim to do each meal time in order to eat in a more mindful way!
1) CHEW EACH MOUTHFUL WITH INTENT
Often we quickly wolf our food down without taking a moment to appreciate the taste or texture of what we are eating! This can quickly lead to over-eating as we consume a lot of food in a short space of time.
Try to chew each mouthful 20 times before you swallow – this might sound like a lot, but should actually only take 20 seconds or so. When you do this, you will be more focused on appreciating your food and naturally in less of a rush to get it from plate to stomach.
2) REST YOUR CUTLERY
You may notice that you are often loading your fork up with your next mouthful before you’ve even finished chewing! Similarly to the previous point, this rush to get through your meal certainly isn’t going to do you any favours.
Make a conscious effort to put your cutlery down between each mouthful, and then pick it up again once you’ve swallowed your food.
3) CLOSE YOUR EYES
Eating with your eyes closed might sound completely impractical- but hear me out!
Begin eating each meal as you usually would, and then once you have food in your mouth, close your eyes whilst you chew. As you do so, totally focus your attention on the experience of eating and reject all other distractions. You will notice that you eat slower as you try to savour the flavours and enjoy the nourishment you are giving yourself.
4) EMBRACE RITUAL + ROUTINE
When you treat every meal time as a special occasion, then you become much more connected to that which you are fuelling your body with. A good way to do this is to always eat your food from a plate and seat yourself at a table. Turn your phone off and allow the meal before you to be the only thing that gets your attention.
Eating from a plate is also a good way to know exactly how much you are eating, giving you greater control of your portions.
5) LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Practicing mindfulness in relation to your diet is something you can engage with outside of mealtimes too. We are all guilty of eating when we aren’t actually all that hungry, and this is something that can quickly lead to over-eating and a dysfunctional relationship with food.
When you begin to feel hungry, take a few deep breaths, have a sip of water, or make a herbal tea. You can also try going for a walk or engaging in another activity that you find to be fun. If your feelings of hunger subside then you’ll know that your weren’t truly hungry. However, if after a while these feelings don’t stop, then go ahead and nourish yourself!