Can you relate to any of these three scenarios?
- BREAKFAST: Rush out the door; stop at a local café to pick up a coffee and muffin; take sips and bites at the traffic lights on the way to work.
- LUNCH: Seated behind the computer screen with a sandwich in one hand and the mouse in the other; taking bites whilst checking emails and surfing the internet.
- DINNER: Quickly throw together a meal and sit down on the couch with eyes on the TV and dinner on your lap.
These situations are not ideal! It's time you slow down and enjoy some 'mindful' eating.
What is mindful eating?
When it comes to eating, mindfulness helps to strengthen your body's signals, so you can hear loud and clear when you are hungry and full. Have you ever been watching TV or working on the computer whilst eating something, only to look down and discover in disbelief that there is nothing left on the plate? I have, and it annoys me right to the bone—there I was looking oh so very well forward to indulging in that piece of chocolate cake and I have no conscious memory of taking the last bite. What a waste!
Whilst eating is primarily a source to nourish our body and provide energy, the added side-benefit is the multitude of yummy taste sensations that we are rewarded with. So why not take the time to set aside 15-30 minutes for all your meals and truly savour each bite?
Benefits of mindful eating
You never know, this simple act may help you to realise that you don't need to eat that much after all.
Dr Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, thinks the best way to reduce our poor eating habits is to become more mindful of our choices and influences. Speaking of personal experience, food always tastes better when I am truly enjoying the act of cooking; being present and extending my loving energy to each stir of the pot. Meal times are also a great opportunity to also relax and quieten the mind.
So why not set yourself a "mini goal" for the week to ensure at least one meal a day is spent eating mindfully. Next week move to two, and the following week try for three. After a month you will notice how eating becomes a wonderful experience rather than a mindless action.
Written By Sam Sample