If you have been visiting my blog for any extended length of time you know that I am huge fan of mindfulness. I love everything about it. The definition that resonates the most with me goes something like “mindfulness is the non-judgmental awareness of your thoughts, emotions, and body that allows you to be present in the moment”. Mindfulness is a well-documented and researched practice that has been shown to reduce stress, boost working memory, reduce rumination, increase focus, decrease emotional reactivity, improve cognitive flexibility, and increase relationship satisfaction.
These are all benefits that are hard to argue with. One of the questions, I get often is how do you practice Mindfulness? There are several answers to this question and no wrong answer. You can practice mindfulness through mindful breathing, mindful walks, mindful driving, mindful eating, or any other way that you get to tune in to your present moment without judgement is a practice of mindfulness.
What I want to spend a little time on is the practice of Mindful Eating. What the heck is Mindful Eating anyway? Mindful Eating is bringing the practice of non- judgement in the present moment to our food choices and our experience with food. Key words here as always with mindfulness is without judgement. How often do we judge our food? How often do we judge what we are eating, how we are eating, when we are eating, and why we are eating? How often do we get caught up in the shoulds and musts of eating that completely take us away from the experience of eating? I have found that too often the answers will be “a lot” or “all the time”.
When you’re actively practicing mindfulness you are also tuning in to your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations. When you are mindlessly engaging in an activity, such as mindless eating you are completely tuned out of how something tastes, how it feels, and how your body feels. When we practice Mindful Eating we are tuning in to our taste buds, our feelings around food, our feelings in general, thoughts around food, and our hunger and satiety cues. Once again to build that mindful bridge, this practice includes doing so without judgement. The practice only asks us to be aware and observe.
The benefits of Mindful Eating include reconnecting with your body’s innate wisdom about hunger and satiety, brings awareness to your relationship with food, people, and other beings, shifts your focus of control from external to internal authorities, and can move you away from reactive patterns around food and eating
Below is a gentle way to begin working that mindfulness muscle through a gentle practice of observing your bodies reactions to an item of food doing so without judgement. Go ahead, practice it now and notice what there is to notice.
Place the food in your hand. Observe the wrapping. Feel the weight. Notice anything new about the food? Bring the food to your nose. Inhale. What do you smell? Did your body react? Did your mouth water? Notice any desires to eat the food. Did they get stronger? Did your mouth water or your stomach growl? Now place the food in your mouth. Do not chew and then chewing slowly. Allowing yourself to notice the texture, is it changing? Can you smell the food? What does it taste like? Does the taste change? What does your body do? When you finish take a moment to reflect on what that experience was for you. Are you satisfied? How was that different from how you normally eat this food?
Hello! Welcome to my Blog on self care . I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Registered Yoga Teacher.