mini mindful eating experience
Last Saturday I had a booth at a local wellness fair. It was fun to spend the morning meeting new people on a beautiful sunny day. To interest people to stop and talk with me, one of the things I offered was a “Mini Mindful Eating Experience.” Usually just the title intrigued people enough to stop for a minute.
As part of this Mini Mindful Eating Experience, I offered them a piece of dark chocolate. Some people were really surprised that I would offer chocolate which they considered to be an “unhealthy" indulgence. (I would definitely categorize certain types of chocolate as SUPERFOOD and a definite healthy choice — the dark chocolate Hershey’s Kisses I was offering were probably questionable.)
I chose chocolate on purpose because I wanted people to consider that mindful eating is something we can incorporate into our routine regardless of what we are eating — healthy or not. HOW we eat, or WHO we are being as we eat, is just important, if not MORE important, than what we are choosing to eat. So whether we eat chocolate or kale, we will benefit from slowing down and eating more mindfully.
When we create a relaxation state while we eat, through slowing down and taking full deep breaths, our body is better able to digest our food, decreasing our stomach discomfort, and we are better able to assimilate the nutrients and energy from our food. If we are going to all this effort to make healthy food choices, we want to make sure we get all the nutrients we can from it, right?
Here are 6 Mindful Eating Tips to remember as you are eating this week:
- CHOOSE — Consciously choose to eat, rather than mindlessly eating without thought. Decide on purpose what to eat. Sit down and focus on your food.
- GRATITUDE — Verbally or mentally, express gratitude for the food you are eating, the people who prepared it, sold it, transported it, grew it — everyone who made the meal possible.
- BREATHE — Take a deep breathe before you eat. Put your fork down and take at least one full breath between each bite. Bring your body into a relaxation state.
- SLOW DOWN — Chew each bite deliberately and slowly. Experiment with counting your chews. How long can you stretch out your meal before you start to feel full?
- SAVOR — Notice the texture, aroma, and flavor of your food. Is it crunchy, sweet, salty, smooth? Fully taste each bite. Enjoy the sensations of eating.
- HONOR — Notice your body (rumbling stomach, low energy, stress, satisfied, full, empty…) Be curious about what you experience. Honor the messages your body is sending.
Being mindful as a eat can be a lot more challenging than it first appears. Take this week to start practicing. Be patient with yourself. Simply notice when you remember and what you forget. Practice bringing yourself into the moment with your food and enjoy every bite.
Send me an email and let me know how the experiment goes for you!