Mindfulness is paying attention to what is happening as it is happening. It is called, "Living in the moment". You are not in the future or in the past. You are in the present. Mindfulness happens when you are aware of the soft carpet beneath your feet as you go down the hallway, when you savour the smell of coffee wafting from the pot, and you sit down and noticed your plate of food looks beautiful. It is a beneficial way to live.
You are eating mindfully, as you can now guess, when you pay attention to what you are eating. The pace of modern life often has us scarfing down food as fast as we can so we can get on with our busy schedule. When we do this, we're not aware of what we are eating, even if we've been craving it, and it is our favorite food.
When mindfully eating, you notice the food you're about it eat. You slow down. You take time to look at the food in front of you. You see the colors, the shape, and the size. If it is something you can hold in your hand like an apple, you pick it up. Notice what it feel like.
Mindful eating gives you an opportunity to realize if you are hungry, or not. If you have just eaten, perhaps your body doesn't want more at the moment, or the opposite, you have been so busy and your body is hungry for sustenance? This can help you discern if you are physically or emotionally hungry.
When you take a bite, you take time to notice the flavor. Do you like? What is the texture like? Are the flavours natural or artificial? Paying attention is where you gain satisfaction from eating. We actually have a physiological need to enjoy the food we are eating.
Realize what is happening in your thoughts. Do they turn negative? Do you begin to worry about your appearance, how much you are eating, or if your self-worth is impacted by the food you are eating? If you eat snack foods, are you telling yourself you are bad for eating it? This is the language or the diet industry and is reminiscent of the legal language and sounds like, "I am bad for eating this food and I need to punish myself for eating it, by restricting after this or exercising more."
Mindfulness helps you move away from the negative self talk by focusing on the food's texture, appearance, and taste. It also allows you to focus on how it feels in your body? Was it healthy for your body, or does it really not sit well with your body? This helps you to make informed, healthy food choices (that do allow for snacks).
Mindful eating assists you in the daily self-care of your body, which benefits your mind and emotions. It can keep you from developing an eating disorder or aid you in recovery from one. It allows you the physical and physiological satisfaction you are meant to have from eating and establishes your inner wisdom by developing the mind-body connection. It teaches you how to let food be about eating and nourishing and feeding your body, in an enjoyable way. Try it today and give time to develop the habit of eating mindfully. It takes 66 days to form a habit. Enjoy.
Karen Cook Counselling & Therapeutic Life Coaching
This is your season to learn, grow, and develop a full and deeply satisfying life.