Mindful Eating: 9 Easy Steps To Get Started

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Tell me if this has this ever happened to you when you’ve been eating….

You’re inhaling a meal and all of a sudden you look down and all of your food is gone – and you think … how did that just happen! Where have I been? And then the next thought… I’m STILL hungry!!

I had one of those meals, just the other day! Thankfully, I stopped myself right before I had taken the last bite.

In fact, this has happened before where I didn’t have any food left on my plate and I went straight back to the kitchen for seconds because I wanted to actually taste my food!

If this happens to you, DON’T WORRY! Here are a few simple tricks to help you bring more mindfulness to your meals:

0-01SIT DOWN: So many of us are running around like crazy, having to feed not only ourselves, but little ones too… so make sure you sit down to eat, it helps to rest and relax the body. This is so important! Standing up and doing other things while you eat or eating while you’re driving takes you out of the experience AND it’s just not safe.

Now let’s add some AWARENESS: Look at your food and just acknowledge that your food came from somewhere (whether it’s a homemade meal, take-out, or you’re eating at a restaurant…the ingredients have an original source. You can take it a baby step further and say, “I’m grateful for this food and the source it came from.”

BREATHE: This only takes about 20 seconds. I like to use Andrew Weil’s 4,7,8 breathing method. When you’re sitting down to have a meal, before you take a bite…use this audio exercise. Deep belly breathing before eating allows your body and nervous system to come into a space of  “rest and digest” instead of “fight or flight” so you can really be present with yourself and your food.  This allows for better digestion and absorption of nutrients.

SAVOR more flavor.  When you take the time to really chew your food, feel the texture, the taste, and show gratitude for such delicious food, you’ll be able to really enjoy your food and the experience of eating. 

Remember this is a practice, so it takes time to implement. The most important thing is that you give yourself permission to try it.

Here’s 5 more ways you can make an environment ripe for mindful meals. 

  • Play calm music – slower tempo music can help quiet your mind and relax your muscles. This helps with soothing feelings and releasing the stress of they day.
  • Dim the lights – lower light levels cause the body to relax and subdues emotions letting the stress further release. This relaxed state you’re creating will help with your digestion!
  • Turn off distractions – phones and TV’s during meal time takes away from the relaxed atmosphere you are attempting to create.    
  • Practice Gratitude – acknowledging goodness in your life increases positive emotions and improves so many things including your overall health.
  • Check-in with your hunger/ fullness signals – recognizing where you are hunger wise will help you to start eating naturally based on your level of hunger vs. eating just because.

Mindful eating is going to serve your mind and body in so many ways, here are just a few:

  • You allow your mind and body to connect, which means you know when you’re full (before you’ve overeaten and made your stomach upset).
  • Your body digests food MUCH better this way! When you eat fast, your body isn’t actually able to digest your food properly. Not only are you losing out on valuable nutrients, but you’re also likely to end up with a stomach ache.
  • You get to have a FULL sensory experience…getting to taste, smell, and even hear your food as you eat.
  • You get to actually ENJOY your food!

Now I want to hear from you… what mindful eating tips have you tried? What’s worked and what hasn’t…how will you put one of these tips into action this week?  

Photo by: Prudence Earl