Between chores, answering emails, and taking care of our families, it’s a miracle if we have time to think about our next meal. In fact, meal-planning companies have cashed in on how many of us can’t even make it to the grocery store.
Not thinking about when and what we consume can lead to overeating and feeling generally unwell. This often spirals into guilt and unhealthy habits.
Mindful eating is a great way to reverse these patterns and feel better at mealtime. It’s the practice of slowing down and being in the moment with your food and hunger. Mindful eating applies the Buddhist concept of mindfulness to mealtime and can help you deepen your mind-body connection when it comes to food.
Here are some tips to get started:
- Avoid multitasking: The most important step of mindful eating is to concentrate on the meal and your body. Turn off the TV, put down your phone, and take a breath.
- Take a look then taste: Before you start to eat, sit down and give your plate a good look. What colors are there? What textures? Spend a moment thinking about your meal before you dig in, and as you eat, concentrate on the taste.
- Be thankful: Appreciate your food. Thank the person who made it—even if it’s you. Consider all that it took for this food to end up on your plate and think about how it will nourish your body.
- Listen to your stomach: Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. This can be easier said than done. The key is to savor each bite and pay attention to how your stomach feels. Be in the moment with your meal.
- Take a beat: It’s important to consider your relationship with food and hunger, as you would consider any other aspect of your mental health. Jot down how it feels to practice mindful eating and any tips or tricks you discover along the way.
If you are just beginning your mindful eating journey, it may be challenging to concentrate on your food for your entire meal, or you might have kids that need minding or a partner who you’d like to chat with. In any of these cases, you can use mindful eating exercises for the first few bites of your food rather than the whole meal.
If you’re interested in learning more, sign up for the weekly Be Meditation session on Mindful Eating with Brandi.