Getting Started with Mindful Eating
If you’ve ever been to a proper wine tasting you know there’s more to it than simply swilling it back. That would just be wasting the potential that a glass of wine has to offer your senses.
A proper wine tasting involves a true sensory experience. You engage sight by swirling and observing the colours and clarity of the wine. You engage your sense of smell by taking a few short sniffs in order to identify the wine’s key fragrances.
You get to enjoy the complex flavours of the wine by taking a very small sip to begin with and taking the time to identify the numerous fruit, barrel, herb and mineral flavours. You allow the wine to rest on your tongue, you’re engaging the mind, and enjoying slowly and thoroughly.
(Yes I’ve been to a few).
So what about food?
We claim we’re “foodies” that we LOVE food and love cooking and yet what often happens when we eat? We spend all evening cooking and 5 minutes scoffing.
Before you know it, dinner is done, you’ve potentially over done it and eaten too much and you’re feeling bloated and lethargic and frankly – a bit ripped off because that delicious meal is gone so quick.
Mindful eating is not just about awareness around eating behaviours, it is also about enjoying your food like a fine wine. It’s a sensory experience unlike no other which not only allows you to truly enjoy and appreciate the food but also helps you to digest your food properly and be able to identify if you’ve had enough – before the plate is empty.
Does that mean we need to chew our bites 35 times? No.
Have you ever tried that? It’s ridiculously difficult!
Instead, try to work through some of these steps and next thing you know, you’re a food connoisseur!
11 Mindful Eating Tips
- Aim to eat when you’re hungry! Hunger is the best seasoning. That being said, you don’t want to be too hungry – or else we all know eating mindfully will go out the door! The best time to eat is when the feelings of hunger are present – but you’re not ravenous.
- Decide how full you want to be. Do you have a big assignment you need to work on after dinner? Or are you going on a bike ride with your kids? If so you may not want to feel too full and so set that intention before you even start. Serve up the appropriate amount (or half that amount so that you can decide whether you’d like more by first taking a pause).
- Sit down at a proper table and remove any distractions. Turn off the TV and the Smartphones and close your books.
- Take 2-3 deep belly breaths, especially if you’re in a stressed state.
- Actually look at your food. Observe the colours and textures.
- Inhale the aromas. Appreciate how it smells and see if you can pin-point a variety of scents. Different varieties of chocolate, for example can have over 200!
- Say “thank you”. Be grateful to the animal, the farmers, the planet and the fact that you are able to afford such delicious food.
- Take your first small bite. Most of our taste buds are located on our tongues so why waste it by taking huge bites squished up around the rest of your mouth when you can’t even taste those bits? Remember to put your fork down between bites. This isn’t an assembly line.
- Stay connected while eating. Continue to appreciate the flavours, textures and aromas. Close your eyes if you’d like to take it to the next level.
- Notice when your taste buds become less sensitive. As your hunger begins to diminish food will lose it’s flavours somewhat. Pay attention to your hunger levels. Feeling satisfied? You’re done! Push your plate aside or cover it with your napkin.
- Be thankful and move on.
No matter what you eat, whether it’s MacDonalds or a Raw Café, ENJOY YOUR FOOD, be aware, non-judgemental and thoroughly grateful – then move on.
And while you don’t have to eat mindfully every single time, give it a go when you’re able. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the result.
For more information on Gentle Nutrition check out A Guide to Gentle Nutrition by Michelle Yandle.
About Michelle Yandle
Michelle Yandle is a Health and Nutrition Coach and Clinical Nutritionist. She is also an international speaker with IISB, successful entrepreneur and three-time author with a focus on traditional diets for health, and nutrition coaching for Empowered Eating™.
Michelle has a bachelor degree from Dalhousie University, Halifax, a graduate degree in education from the University of Maine at Fort Kent, a graduate certificate from the school of Holistic Performance Nutrition and certificates in health and nutrition coaching from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Cadence Health in New Zealand.
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