Four Ways To Practice Mindful Eating
I am always looking for ways to be more mindful. I have written about monotasking, mindful dog walking, and meditation (on a snow globe and in my own life). Here’s another way to bring mindfulness into your life: Mindful Eating.
Mindful Eating helps us to be thankful for our food and the opportunity to feed our bodies. It helps us to slow down (and maybe eat less) and enjoy our meals. Here are some suggestions for how to eat mindfully.
1. Limit distractions.
Most days, I eat lunch by myself at home, and I always read while I eat. I like to think of this as being efficient—doing two things at once! But actually, I can’t focus 100% on either task. Sometimes when I’m reading something really good, I’ll keep eating without realizing how much I’m ingesting. I pledge to stop doing this.
What is distracting you from your food? Are you driving? Watching TV? Texting? Once you’ve noticed the distractions, do your best to eliminate them. When you eat, make that your sole activity.
2. Notice how you feel.
Recently I heard that we eat our emotions. Thus, if you feel angry when you eat, then you actually ingest that anger. Instead of eating, acknowledge the emotion. Name it, identify it. Sit with it. The same goes for stress, depression, and anxiety. Instead of stuffing that emotion down with food, breathe into it and acknowledge it.
Notice if you are actually feeling hungry. Many of us, myself included, eat by rote. It’s dinnertime, so let’s eat. Everyone else is eating, so I’ll eat. There is food still on my plate—got to clear my plate! This sounds obvious, but why eat when you aren’t hungry? Honor your feeling of being sated.
3. Give thanks.
Pause before you eat and say a simple prayer of thanks. Bless this food, bless the hands that prepared it, bless this food for our bodies and us to thy service. The wording can be anything you like, even “God is great, God is good, let us thank him for our food.”
The blessing accomplishes many things—it helps center you, for one thing. It helps you remember where your meal came from. Saying a blessing also helps remove any negative energy from the food. If you are already feeling stressed or angry, a blessing can help dissipate that feeling so you don’t ingest it.
4. Set an intention.
I learned about “segment intending” from Evelyn Hicks. Segment intending is setting an intention for the next segment of your day. When I wake up, I set an intention: Today I intend to eat mindfully. I ask for my angels’ help and assistance with this. Then before each meal, repeat that intention. I intend to eat modestly, with a balance of healthy foods and treats. Later, when I realize I’m eating potato chips (or reaching for the bag) I’ll remember — oh yeah, I didn’t intend to do this today. Let me get back on track.
Do you practice mindful eating? How has it helped you? Leave me a note in the comments section!