In the bustle of our lives, eating has become an inconvenience. “To-Go” or “On The Go” eating has become the new norm because life is so busy! Meals have moved away from the home table and landed on our desks at work or even in our laps in the car in an effort to save time. Sometimes meals move to the couch in front of the TV to save time by stacking dinner with our favorite show.
But have we lost something through this process? Yes! We have lost the connection of knowing when our bodies are hungry and when they have had enough to eat. We have lost the insight of knowing what our bodies are needing because we can no longer “hear” what our bodies crave. We have moved to a state of Mind-Less Eating: a state of rushed, hurried eating of whatever food is convenient, regardless of whether or not we are even hungry. Mindless eating is not healthy for our bodies. It can lead to over-eating which may lead to physical discomfort and feelings of regret.
Mindful Eating allows us to slow down and re-connect with our bodies by using our senses each time we eat a snack or meal. This comes from the practice of Mindfulness, which is a state of utilizing all five of our senses to meditate or build awareness of the present moment.
Mindful Eating may be right for anyone trying to minimize stress, heal from an eating disorder, or looking for new ways to improve their overall health.
7 WAYS TO EAT MINDFULLY:
This one can be challenging yet simple. Remove any distractions during snacks and meals by sitting down at the table and eating. This means no eating while driving or watching TV. Put away your phone too! It becomes easier to notice your body’s sense of hunger and fullness when there is no competition for your attention.
Look How Pretty!
Take in the sight of your food. Notice the colors and presentation on your plate. All the colors of the rainbow are present in fruits and vegetables! Allow the beauty of your food to become a feast for your eyes.
Smell The Aroma.
Our sense of smell is tied into our sense of taste. Savoring the aroma of a meal being prepared can be a pleasurable experience. Take the time to notice how good your home smells from baking or cooking. Allowing yourself to experience the aroma of your meal is a great way to eat mindfully!
Feel The Texture.
Noticing the texture of our food adds to the experience of Mindful Eating. The crunchiness of an apple or chips can be so satisfying! The smoothness of yogurt or ice cream can be comforting. Feeling the texture of our food can also help us decide whether we like a certain food. Take the time to notice the texture and feel a new level of satisfaction when eating.
Experience The Taste.
Our taste buds celebrate when we eat! Is your snack bursting with the sweetness you’ve been craving? Does your meal melt into savory satisfaction when you take the first bite? Does the hint of spiciness heat up your mouth in the way you hoped? Mindful Eating provides us with all of these experiences when we take the time to slow down and notice.
Go Down Memory Lane.
The way in which we prepare and experience food comes from the past. Family traditions and cultural practices involve special meals bringing family together. Have you ever noticed that certain aromas can trigger fond memories? Let your mind wander to times when food was special or enjoyable for you and loved ones.
Eating provides one of the most powerful ways in which we can connect both with ourselves and with others. For connection with ourselves, eating mindfully allows us to take notice of our physical bodies and care for ourselves in ways that can enhance our mental and emotional health. Eating also bonds us to our friends and families when we sit together and share a meal. Bonding also occurs through preparing a meal together. It’s also a great way to pass down family traditions by teaching younger family members how to make special holiday meals.
If you or a loved one is in need of support, Low Country Counseling offers specialized therapy for Individuals, Moms, Couples, Families, Children, and Teens. Contact us for any questions you need answered or to schedule an appointment. Help is available. You are not alone!
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