How to Eat Mindfully
How does one eat mindfully? Be awake and aware while eating. Choose when you will eat. Choose where you will eat. Choose what you will eat. Choose how much you will eat. You have the personal power over food; food does not have the power over you.
Here are 6 steps to Mindful Eating:
Evaluate your hunger – Are you really hungry? Are you eating as a social response? Is it a habitual time and place to eat? Be aware why you have chosen to eat.
Assess your food – Stop, pause, and really appreciate your food. How does it look? How does it smell? How much have your served yourself? Have you served the food in a mindful way (e.g. placing a portion in a bowl or on a plate, instead of eating from the box or bag)?
Taste your food – Really taste it. Eat slowly and savor the food and textures in every bite. Do not rush. If you are going to eat, choose to relish your food.
Investigate your hunger – Check in with yourself while eating. Are you still hungry? Is it time to stop because you are full, or because times up, the waiter took your plate, or the food is finished? Make a conscious decision about when you are finished. Remember, you will feel fuller faster if you eat slowly.
Notice how you feel – Be aware of how you feel physically and emotionally while eating. Are you calm and relaxed or are you rushing, lost in thought, or lost in the TV? You will eat more when you are eating on automatic pilot, and you will not even remember how the food tasted. Eating in a trance-like state is an invitation to overeat. Remember to check in with yourself 30 or 60 minutes after eating. Has your meal given you energy or do you need a nap?
Gratitude – Have gratitude for the opportunity to eat. Be grateful to all the people, plants, and animals that played a part in providing you with food. Seeing the bigger picture will connect you to others and help you establish a positive sense of well-being. Sharing your gratitude with others establishes a positive connection in relationships. It also positively reinforces Mindful Eating in others.